Selection Sunday produced the college football bowl match-ups for the 2013 season. It is also about this time of the year that the top high school prospects begin making their firm choices of what college they will attend next year. These choices each year represent the initial step to successes on the gridiron in future years and, recruiting has never been more fierce than this year. These are the recruits that will determine what bowl schools will attend in the future. Though the 2014 signing period isn’t until January 5, 2014, most colleges will have secured their recruiting classes, unofficial, weeks before. Alabama has dominated recruiting the past few years and this year will be no exception. Alabama currently is in first place in four major recruiting services, Rivals, 247Sports, Scout and ESPN. Although in first place, other teams are poised to make a push, especially one that is not currently in Top Ten.
Louisiana State University (LSU), currently out of the Top Ten in all four of these services, is a strong candidate to challenge Alabama in the final standings. Leonard Fournette, the consensus No. 1 recruit in the nation, has been in seemingly an endless battle between Alabama and LSU for his services. Many in Louisiana, Fournette’s home state, feel confident the heralded running back from New Orleans will line up with the Tigers next year. LSU is also confident about other Top 50 recruits from Louisiana including wide receiver Devante “Speedy” Noil who is down to Texas A&M and LSU, and classmate, defensive end Gerald Willis (brother of Alabama safety, Landon Collins) is down to Florida and LSU. Both players have indicated publicly and often their desire to attend the same college. This bodes well for LSU as the common denominator for their services.
The state of Louisiana is rich in talent for 2014 and is attracting offers from many out of state universities, but Alabama has been the only one to truly challenge LSU’s top choices. This year Alabama has plucked two five star players from northeast Louisiana that LSU had at the top of their list. Laurence “Hootie” Jones, a physical safety, was long considered a lock for LSU, but in the end chose Alabama. He will join top rated offensive lineman and long time friend, Cameron Robinson, in Tuscaloosa next year who committed to the Tide a couple of months ago.
With other top Louisiana recruits believed a lock for the Tigers, LSU has raided the cream of the crop from other states. They have secured verbal commitments from Oklahoma’ defensive end prospect, Deandre Clark, Mississippi Player of the Year, Devin Voorhies, and two top Texas recruits, defensive backs Tony Brown and Ed Paris. LSU is feeling more confident about also signing consensus five star Texas safety, Jamal Adams, long considered a Florida lean, which many feel makes up for losing in-state safety, “Hootie” Jones. LSU, just before this story is going to press, received a verbal commitment from highly rated Illinois linebacker, Clifton Garrett.
Alabama and LSU have been battling for division, conference and national titles for more than a half decade and are poised to possibly finish 1st and 2nd on the recruiting front for 2014. It is no illusion how these recruiting wars correlate to championships down the road. Of course other teams such as Florida State or Auburn, hoping for a good showing in the national championship will bring recruiting rewards, or perhaps Tennessee, Ohio State, Texas A&M or another will claim the mythical recruiting championship for 2014. Fans will pretty much know just after the high school All-American games that will be played the first part of January, 2014.
If things go as expected, look for the Tigers and the Tide to be in the top two spots. For college “recruitnics” this is the season of hope, and hopefully, a season of joy.
By Richard Dosher