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Friday, January 3, 2014
Recruit and return: Alabama Crimson Tide

By Derek Tyson

Alabama’s season might not have ended the way the Crimson Tide wanted -- and let’s face it, anything short of a national championship was going to be disappointing -- but they still finished 11-2.

Off the field, Alabama has continued its recruiting dominance in the 2014 cycle. The Crimson Tide currently have the No. 1 class and still have a chance to have a strong finish. With signing a month away, here’s a closer look where the Tide stand in recruiting.

Key losses: Quarterback AJ McCarron, left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio*, wide receiver Kenny Bell, safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix*, linebacker C.J. Mosley, wide receiver Kevin Norwood, defensive back John Fulton, wide receiver Christion Jones*.

Instant impact freshman: Offensive linemen don’t usually make a big impact as freshmen, but left tackle Cameron Robinson (Monroe, La./West Monroe) is too talented to keep off the field. Kouandjio will likely turn pro and Robinson has the size and athleticism to compete for a starting spot from Day 1. Robinson was a standout during The Opening camp in July and also during Under Armour All-America Game practices.

Top 2014 recruits: In addition to Robinson, Alabama’s 2014 class is loaded with prospects who could make an impact early on in their careers. Five-star defensive end Da'Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge), athlete Bo Scarbrough (Bradenton, Fla./IMG Academy), who is the No. 21-ranked player in the country, the No. 1 guard Ross Pierschbacher (Cedar Falls, Iowa/Cedar Falls), the nation’s top center Josh Casher (Mobile, Ala./St. Paul’s Episcopal), and the No. 2 quarterback David Cornwell (Norman, Okla./Norman North) are all prospects who could make contributions as freshmen.

Questions for signing day: With 24 commitments, including 17 ranked in the ESPN 300, Alabama has met a majority of its recruiting needs. At this point any additions would almost be a bonus for the Crimson Tide. Alabama would also like to add another defensive back or two in this class. Five-star safety Marlon Humphrey (Hoover, Ala./Hoover) is the most likely candidate at this point.

* Underclassmen expected to declare for NFL draft