February recap at 'Bama

Five-star Alabama signee Derrick Henry

As the Crimson Tide wrap up the class of 2013, Nick Saban and Co. change focus to the class of 2014. FOX Sports NEXT Recruiting Analyst John Garcia Jr. reviews the headline-filled month of February at the University of Alabama.

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On National Signing Day, the Alabama Crimson Tide welcomed 25 signees, including 14 in the nation's top 100 prospects.

The Alabama class of 2013 ranks #3 according to Scout and includes six five-star prospect and twelve four-star prospects.


As an insider at the university, do you think the 2013 recruiting class met Coach Saban and his staff's expectations?

It did. The staff was focused on the offensive side of the ball early, mainly at quarterback and running back, and it brought in four scholarship running back prospects and two early-enrollee scholarship quarterbacks as well as a three-star walk-on in Luke Del Rio.

Defensively, it was all about the secondary early and the defensive line late. Four cornerbacks and three elite defensive linemen later, including the No. 1 defensive tackle in the country in A'Shawn Robinson, and the mission was accomplished.

If narrowed down to just one or two players, who has the ability to make an immediate impact in the 2013 class?

It's hard to start anywhere else here besides Derrick Henry. He ran for more yards than any other high school player, ever, and he's already enrolled in order to get a jump start on the offense. If he stays at the position despite his 6-foot-3, 240-plus pound frame, he has the chance to follow in the footsteps of T.J. Yeldon in 2013 with Eddie Lacy headed to the NFL. Yeldon got to campus in January and played a big role as a freshman, and Henry can do the same.

On defense, linebacker Reuben Foster figures to see some kind of playing time in 2013. The No. 2 overall prospect in America is college-ready, even at Alabama, and all he does is make plays form any spot on the defense or special teams.

Who is the surprise steal in the class of 2013?

The sleeper may actually also be the steal in 'Bama's 2013 haul. It's Eddie Jackson, the speedy two-way prospect from South Florida. He is set to begin his career on defense at either cornerback or safety, but his biggest early contribution could be on special teams as a return-man or while covering kicks.

Jackson was a middle-of-the-road prospect until his senior tape got out, and he went from an FIU offer to a final two of Alabama and LSU before announcing to the Crimson Tide a week before signing day.

How will the 2013 class affect recruiting in 2014?

The big need on positions for 2014 based on this year's cycle is safety. Alabama was a finalist for the No. 2 and No. 3 safeties in 2013, but missed out on each on signing day. Several safeties already hold offers in the junior class, so Alabama could be looking to bring in its fair share.

It will be business as usual otherwise, and even though Alabama brought in four elite running backs, expect multiple ball-carriers in what may shape up to be an even deeper running back class nationally in 2014.

Who are the top targets for fans to keep an eye on in the 2014 recruiting class?

Alabama's top 2014 targets are found at the top of the national targets, as per usual.

'Bama is in the mix for the No. 1 overall player Da'Shawn Hand, who recently announced his top five with UA making the cut. Fellow five-star and Alabama legacy Marlon Humphrey is the top defensive back target, though five-stars Tony Brown and Laurence Jones are big-time priorities in the secondary as well.

Alabama already has considerable offers in on the offensive line, and after missing out on Laremy Tunsil in 2013, Alabama appears to be in the driver's seat for the top offensive tackle in 2014, Cameron Robinson.


Thanks to FOX Sports NEXT's John Garcia Jr. for his contribution to this National Signing Day report.

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