As the defending BCS National Champions, the University of Alabama football coaching staff is hoping to reel in some top shelf talent for 2011. Considering the likely possibility of numerous early departures for the NFL, key positions on both sides of the ball appear wide open after next season. Here is a look at a few of the top players that have committed to Alabama so far:
Shannon Brown – LB
A sizable “Peach State” product, Brown has been a standout player at both linebacker and running back in high school. He brings a nice blend of quickness and power, and will definitely serve as a viable option at either inside or outside linebacker at the next level. One thing that stands out most about this player is his ability to effectively pressure the quarterback while also possessing the speed and skills necessary to cover a speedy running back. Look for Brown to jump into the mix early on in Tuscaloosa, as size wont be an issue for him.
Hasean Clinton-Dix – ATH/DB
Another out of state prospect and arguably Alabama’s best commitment thus far, Clinton-Dix shows great instincts in the secondary. He is a sure tackler who rarely over pursues, and also possesses the ability to effectively pressure the quarterback off the edge (a la Javier Arenas). He brings a great blend of size, power, speed and football knowledge, and should be a viable option at safety and star (nickelback) for the Crimson Tide.
Jabriel Washington – ATH
While Rivals.com has him listed at 165 lbs, Washington has shown a willingness to drop his pads and run over the ball carrier no matter who it is. He is known as a great character guy and an excellent cover man on the defensive side of the football. His ability to line up as a slot receiver makes him that much more valuable of a commodity. A little extra size will likely be necessary for him to compete in college, but his frame appears able to hold the extra weight without sacrificing speed.
Marvin Shinn – WR
Shinn made a fairly early commitment to the Tide, and is slated by many to be the next big name receiver in Tuscaloosa. With Julio Jones all but guaranteed to pursue a career in the NFL after his junior season, the chance for this tall receiver to contribute early definitely exists. Blocking as a wide-out for this run-heavy offense is no easy task, however, so some added mass definitely couldn’t hurt.
Danny Woodson – WR
Woodson is a sure-handed receiver who can out jump most corners and effectively navigate down-field using his blockers. He knows when to cut back and find space, but has enough size and power to break tackles. As a prep star, Woodson has already shown that rare ability to turn a ten yard hook route into a home run pass play.
Bradley Sylve – WR
Long considered a likely LSU Tiger, Sylve (a native of Port Sulphur, LA) adds even more depth at receiver for the Tide. He is a fairly well built player who isn’t afraid of making those tough catches across the middle. He has shown great vision as a kick returner, and appears to be quite adept at making extremely sharp cuts at full speed.
If the the Alabama coaching staff can continue to pull in recruits like those mentioned above, there is no doubt that the Crimson Tide will be in the hunt for the BCS Championship for years to come.
“Bradley Sylve” Rivals.com
“Jabriel Washington” Rivals.com