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Recruiting: The Process Starts Here

Though college football season is over, the quest to get to a national title game starts in the offseason. With everyone’s attention now shifted toward recruiting, this is where the real chess match begins. For most people, Christmas is in December. For college football programs, Christmas starts in January. During this time, coaches are out in the aspect of trying to bring the best players into their system.

For Alabama, the journey to get back atop of Southeastern Conference glory and college football glory in itself starts now. After finishing this season at 11-2 (7-1 in conference) overall, the Crimson Tide has to stock up on talent in order to make up for what its losing to the National Football League.

Despite having enough quarterbacks to battle for signal caller next season, Alabama has other positions that need to be filled. One position the Tide has to focus on in recruiting is the offensive line. Alabama’s offensive line was average to say the least this season. On one end, the offensive line helped the Tide average 454.1 yards of offense and 38.2 points per game. However, the Crimson Tide gave up 17 sacks, failed on some blocking assignments and was penalized a lot.

With Anthony Steen and Cyrus Kouandjio pursuing the NFL, Alabama signed Cameron Robinson. At 6-foot-5, 330 pounds, Robinson is a five-star recruit. He is very quick and light on his feet for his size. According to scouts, Robinson excels at run blocking along with pass blocking. He shows a lot of toughness as well as physicality. Robinson was a major pick up for Alabama and he will be a major asset in helping the offensive line get better.

Weighing in at 6-foot-4, 269 pounds, Ross Pierschbacher is a talented four-star offensive guard. Not only is he physical, but Pierschbacher blocks well in space. Despite running a 5.21 in the 40-yard dash, Pierschbacher has a good vertical jump of 23 inches. He’s ranked 64th in the ESPN 300 with a grade of an 84. Pierschbacher has yet to sign with the Tide, though he has committed to them. Alabama will continue pursuing Pierschbacher in hopes of getting him to sign.

Alabama’s Recruiting List (Offensive Lineman)

  • Josh Carter (6’1” 290 pounds)
    • Mobile, Ala. (St. Paul’s Espicopal High School)
    • Position: Center
    • Four-star recruit
    • Traits: Toughness and Strength
    • 40-yard dash: 5.49 seconds
    • Vertical Jump: 24 inches
    • Scout Grade: 83
  • J.C. Hassenauer (6’3” 292 pounds)
    • Woodbury, Minn. (East Ridge High School)
    • Position: Center
    • Four-star recruit
    • 40-yard dash: 5.20 seconds
    • Vertical Jump: 29.1 inches
    • Scout Grade: 83
  • Dominick Jackson (6’6” 310 pounds)
    • San Mateo, Calif. (College of San Mateo)
    • Position: Offensive Tackle
    • Four-star recruit
    • Ranked 5th in the ESPN JC50
    • Scout Grade: 82
  • Montel McBride (6’4” 349 pounds)
    • Plant City, Fla. (Plant City High School)
    • Position: Offensive Guard
    • Three-star recruit
    • Traits: Strenght
    • 40-yard dash: 5.52 seconds
    • Vertical Jump: 24.9 inches
    • Scout Grade: 79

Offense scores points, but defense wins championships. For Alabama, there are quite a few holes on defense that need to be filled with great recruits. With CJ Mosley, Adrian Hubbard, Jeoffrey Pagan, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Vinnie Sunseri going to the NFL, the Crimson Tide has to recruit the best players that will give its defense the best opportunity.

Alabama got an early Christmas gift when Da’Shawn Hand committed to the Tide on November 14, 2013. At 6-foot-4, 262 pounds, Hand has all the tools to be a successful run stopper and pass rusher. According to scouts, Hand excels in stopping the run along with disrupting the timing of offenses. He is a talented five-star recruit with a vertical jump of 34.9 inches. In the 40-yard dash, Hand was clocked at 4.95 seconds. Alabama hasn’t had a potent pass rusher since 2011; the Tide believes that Hand can provide the team with it.

Bo Scarbrough is the definition of a complete athlete. At 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, Scarbrough has speed, versatility and great ball skills to play anywhere for the Crimson Tide. He was clocked at 4.59 seconds in the 40-yard dash and has a vertical jump of 31.0 inches. He’s ranked 12th in the ESPN 300 and is a five star recruit. Scarbrough’s scout grade is a 90. Though he’s listed as an athlete, Nick Saban will more than likely probably have him on defense as a safety.

Alabama’s Recruiting List (Defense)

  • Tony Brown (6’0” 196 pounds)
    • Beaumont, Texas (Ozen High School)
    • Position: Cornerback
    • Five-star recruit
    • Traits: Man-to-man coverage, zone coverage, ball skills and run support
    • Ranked 8th in the ESPN 300
    • 40-yard dash: 4.35 seconds
    • 20-yard shuttle: 3.83 seconds
    • Vertical Jump: 35.9 inches
    • Scout Grade: 92
    • Signed with Alabama: January 2, 2014
  • Marlon Humphrey (6’0” 179 pounds)
    • Hoover, Ala. (Hoover High School)
    • Position: Cornerback
    • Five-star recruit
    • Traits: Zone coverage, run support and instincts
    • Ranked 15th in the ESPN 300
    • 40-yard dash: 4.48 seconds
    • 20-yard shuttle: 4.27 seconds
    • Vertical Jump: 32 inches
    • Scout Grade: 90
    • Committed to Alabama: January 29, 2014
  • Laurence Jones (6’2” 208 pounds)
    • Monroe, La. (Monroe High School)
    • Position: Safety
    • Traits: Zone coverage, ball skills and instincts
    • Four-star recruit
    • Scout Grade: 86
    • Signed with Alabama: January 2, 2014
  • Christian Miller (6’4” 212 pounds)
    • Columbia, S.C. (Spring Valley High School)
    • Position: Outside Linebacker
    • Traits: Outside run support (speed, range)
    • Four-star recruit
    • 40-yard dash: 4.74 seconds
    • 20-yard shuttle: 4.18 seconds
    • Vertical Jump: 36.8 inches
    • Scout Grade: 84
    • Committed to Alabama: July 25, 2013
  • Joshua Frazier (6’4” 336 pounds)
    • Springdale, Ark. (Har Ber High School)
    • Position: Defensive Tackle
    • Traits: Strength and Run Defense
    • Four-star recruit
    • 40-yard dash: 5.27 seconds
    • Vertical Jump: 26.8 inches
    • Scout Grade: 83
    • Committed to Alabama: November 23, 2013

Currently, Alabama has 26 recruits that have committed. Though just nine of the 26 have signed, the Crimson Tide will continue to sell its recruiting pitch in order to get all 26 guys signed on. With the recruits mentioned, Alabama is poised to have a successful 2014 season. The main thing the Tide has to focus on is continuing to recruit well and make sure that everyone is on the same page.

Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 15 years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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