Alabama Crimson Tide: West Virginia Mountaineers

3-point stance: Texas two-step

March, 11, 2014
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1. Duane Akina became the seventh assistant from Mack Brown’s staff at Texas to get another job when Stanford hired him as secondary coach. Co-offensive coordinators Major Applewhite and Darrell Wyatt, the two highest-paid assistants, remain on the market. One interesting note: Most coaching contracts see to it that a fired coach gets the agreed-upon amount. If he is hired elsewhere for less than that amount, the first school makes up the difference. Not Texas. If you take another job, Texas is done.

2. Dr. Joab Thomas, the former president of the University of Alabama and Penn State University, died last week at age 81. While at Alabama, Thomas endured the controversy of hiring Ray Perkins and Bill Curry to replace the legendary Paul Bryant. In 1990, Thomas went to State College, Pa., where the equally legendary Joe Paterno turned 65 the following year. When someone asked him about Paterno retiring, Thomas said, “You can't ask one man to replace both Bear Bryant and Joe Paterno.”

3. Jake Trotter’s post Monday described the desire of West Virginia players to turn the program around after a 4-8 record last season. Injuries contributed a great deal to the Mountaineers’ troubles. But the physical and mental burden of traveling to the Big 12 footprint will be an annual drag on West Virginia football. The good news is that in this season’s nine-game conference schedule, the 5/4 split tips to Milan Puskar Stadium. The bad news is that the season opens with a neutral-site game against Alabama in Atlanta.

Early Offer: 2015 begins now 

February, 7, 2014
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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today’s offerings: The ink was barely dry on the letters of intent for 2014 class when one of the best for the 2015 class came off the board; and what schools and recruiters have jumped out of the gate with success with players that won’t sign for another 360-plus days.


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Early Offer: Malone’s big day 

December, 4, 2013
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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: Josh Malone, one of the nation’s best receivers, will announce his decision today, so will he be singing Rocky Top, calling the Dawgs or heading to Clemson? In-home visits are taking place all over the country and social media is providing us with an inside look at life on the trail; and we’re less than a week away from finding out where the top player in Pennsylvania will end up.

Will Rocky Top be home sweet home?
Four-star receiver Josh Malone, the nation’s No. 48 player out of Gallatin (Tenn.) Station Camp, has already signed financial aid agreements with Tennessee, Georgia, Clemson and Florida State, but he will announce his decision at noon ET Wednesday on NBC Sports Network. The RecruitingNation Hot Board has Malone projected to select Tennessee. The Volunteers were smart and were the first to use the signing of the financial aid paperwork as a tool in the recruiting process. Because he was technically “signed” UT coaches were able to have regular contact with him. Shortly after, the three other schools followed suit.

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1. Given the tenor of the times, the suspension of Alabama defensive back Ha Ha Clinton-Dix will cast a dimmer light on the NCAA than on the player. The Tuscaloosa News reported that Clinton-Dix took a loan of less than $500 from assistant strength coach Corey Harris during the summer and repaid it before the season. The bottom line is that Clinton-Dix and Harris knew the rules and ignored them. But the small amount of money, and the fact that it was a one-time transaction, highlight how the needs of student-athletes are not being met.

2. West Virginia's upset of Oklahoma State provided a ray of hope in Morgantown as the Mountaineers prepare to play at No. 17 Baylor, which is 15-1 at home since the beginning 2011. It's no coincidence that the struggles of the Mountaineers coincide with the departure of top recruiter Doc Holliday to become head coach of Marshall three years ago. Holliday is well-known for his ability to recruit in Florida, where the Mountaineers found quarterback Geno Smith and wide receiver Stedman Bailey. They left last season, and no one as talented has appeared to replace them.

3. The disappearance of tough intersectional games has led to grade inflation at the football stadium. I looked at the Week 6 AP poll for each of the last 10 seasons. From 2004-11, the average number of undefeated teams is a shade under 14. Last season, 18 teams made it to Week 6 without a blemish. This season, it's 17. It must be the disappearance of tough intersectional games. Let's hope that nine-game conference schedules and the College Football Playoff force teams to play up, and do it earlier.
Four-star Springfield (Ohio) High School outside linebacker Davonte James does not get the same publicity as some of his fellow ESPN 300 members, but he has caught the eye of one of the nation’s elite programs.


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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Four-star receiver Dominique Booth (Indianapolis/Pike) was set to choose from his final four schools at the end of May. The second-ranked prospect in Indiana was heading south to Alabama, Florida State, Tennessee or Vanderbilt.

Dominique Booth
Chantel Jennings/ESPN.comFour-star wide receiver Dominique Booth is the No. 2 overall prospect in the state of Indiana.
Booth postponed his decision, but that does not mean he is fully opening up his recruitment again.


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It’s early in the process for sophomore athlete Eric Glover-Williams (Canton, Ohio/McKinley), but some schools are starting sticking out.


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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Instead of going to the beach for spring break, ESPN Watch List wide receiver Dominique Booth (Indianapolis/Pike) spent his break visiting interested colleges across the southeast and east coast. His first stop was to the University of Alabama.


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Alabama’s courtship of receiver Derek Kief all happened fast, first making contact last week, followed by an offer on Thursday. So what's next for the Cincinnati La Salle receiver?


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ATHENS, Ga. -- ESPN Watch List wide receiver Demarre Kitt (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek) recently cut his mammoth offer list down to a top-15 group of schools that he will consider.

“It got crazy at one point with almost everybody that offered me trying to talk to me,” Kitt said. “So I had to cut my list down to 15 schools. After spring practice I will cut it down to eight or 10. At the end of summer I will do five and then go from there.”


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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- On Monday, Alabama fans learned that Mario Cristobal will be their new offensive line coach. The hire should help the Crimson Tide’s chances with ESPN Watch List wide receiver Jake McCrary (Miami/Coral Reef), who knew Cristobal from his days as head coach at Florida International and more recently from his stint at Miami.

“Coach Cristobal, he’s a great coach,” McCrary said. “He was over at FIU and turned that program around. He was at Miami for a short time. That’s when I really started to know him a little better.

“A better offer came on the table, and he took the best job that was for him, the Alabama job. I’m happy for him, and I think that will help Alabama a lot more because he’s a local guy, and he could get the local kids up there to Alabama.”

The 2014 class has a number of talented recruits from Miami and the surrounding areas.


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Wilton Speight impresses in workout 

February, 3, 2013
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After a personal workout, Wilton Speight could be days away from his first scholarship offer.


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Decision looms for David Knevel 

December, 17, 2012
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It’s decision time for 2013 offensive lineman David Knevel. The Canadian lineman will announce his commitment at his high school Tuesday morning. He’s narrowed his list to three schools -- Alabama, Nebraska and West Virginia.

According to his father, Mark Miller, Knevel will choose where he feels the most comfortable.

“He’s been talking back and forth with all of these coaches since the summer,” Miller said. “All these schools, the ones he’s down to, he feels he can play with their system and everything, but I think it’s going to come down to more comfort, that type of thing.”

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Junior college offensive lineman Leon Brown (Brooklyn Institute/ASA Institute) committed to the University of Alabama in June without ever visiting the campus or meeting the head coach.

He can now check one of those items off his to-do list, as Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban came up to visit on Wednesday.

“It was my first time meeting Coach Saban,” Brown said. “I was excited to meet him for the first time. We just sat down, and we talked about everything, talked about the players they get there, how they train them. It was good to just talk in person.

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WR Johnnie Dixon has big offseason plans 

November, 17, 2012
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ESPN Watch List athlete Johnnie Dixon (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Dwyer) admits that he needs to start thinking about the recruiting process a little more.

But it’s hard for the 5-foot-11, 190-pound junior to deal with recruiting too much during the playoffs, especially when he is such a key component of Dwyer’s offense.

In Friday night’s 25-3 victory over Oakland Park (Fla.) Northeast, Dixon had six catches for 101 yards.

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Alabama In Line For No. 1 Class ... Again
National recruiting analyst Craig Haubert breaks down the Crimson Tide's quest for a four-peat atop the ESPN Class Rankings.Tags: Mekhi Brown, Daylon Charlot, Nick Saban, Alabama Crimson Tide
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