- Greg Ostendorf, ESPN Staff Writer
Recruiting Nation looks back at the top 10 recruits from the Mobile, Ala., area since Nick Saban took over as head coach at the University of Alabama in 2007. (List is alphabetical.)
S Mark Barron
St. Paul’s Episcopal School: 2008
Drafted: First round (No. 7 overall) by Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012
Analysis: Barron has made an impact at every stop he’s made to this point. At Alabama, he was a two-time All-American, a three-time All-SEC player and a member of two national championship teams. As a rookie with the Bucs, he finished with 89 tackles, one interception and one forced fumble.
DE Chris Casher
Davidson High School: 2012
College: Florida State
Analysis: Casher is on this list not because of what he’s done but because of what he could do this fall. He was playing as a freshman last year before an injury cut his season short. Now he’s in line to potentially earn a starting position on the Seminoles’ defense. Casher is one of the few that got away from Alabama.
Spanish Fort High School: 2011
Analysis: Dismukes took over at center as a freshman at Auburn, and he’s made 23 starts for the Tigers over the last two years. Coming out of high school, he was listed as the nation’s top center prospect and ranked in the ESPN 150. He’s considered to be one of the top returning centers in the SEC this fall.
DT Nick Fairley
Williamson High School: 2007
Drafted: First round (No. 13 overall) by Detroit Lions in 2011
Analysis: Fairley didn’t take the traditional route to stardom. After signing with Auburn out of high school, he was forced to attend a junior college for two years. When he returned to The Plains, he became one of the most dominant players in college football. In his second season with the Lions, he recorded 26 tackles and 5.5 sacks.
OT D.J. Fluker
Foley High School: 2009
Drafted: First round (No. 11) by San Diego Chargers in 2013
Analysis: Fluker made the right decision by leaving school early after this past year. The mammoth offensive lineman was chosen in the first round of the NFL draft and signed a lucrative contract with the Chargers. At Alabama, he manned the right tackle spot from 2010 to 2012, earning All-American and All-SEC honors as a junior.
OC Rodney Hudson
B.C. Rain High School: 2007
College: Florida State
Drafted: Second round (No. 55) by Kansas City Chiefs in 2011
Analysis: Hudson was the most under-the-radar prospect of the whole group. He was just a three-star player coming out of high school, but he made his mark while at Florida State. After missing the 2012 season due to injury, he’s hoping to bounce back in 2013.
WR Julio Jones
Foley High School: 2008
Drafted: First round (No. 6) by Atlanta Falcons in 2011
Analysis: Jones was a can’t-miss prospect coming out of high school, and he’s translated that success to the NFL. After setting multiple records during his three-year stint with the Crimson Tide, Jones has now blossomed into one of the top wide receivers at the professional level. He earned his first Pro-Bowl selection after last season.
QB AJ McCarron
St. Paul’s Episcopal School: 2009
Analysis: McCarron has one more season left at Alabama, and he has a chance to win a fourth national championship. Last year, he came into his own, throwing for 2,933 yards, 30 touchdowns and three interceptions. As he enters his senior campaign, the UA quarterback is a legitimate Heisman candidate for the upcoming season.
LB C.J. Mosley
Theodore High School: 2010
Analysis: Mosley could’ve been gone in the first round of April’s NFL draft, but he opted to finish out his career at Alabama and try to win a third consecutive national championship. Although he was ranked in the ESPN 150 coming out of high school, he’s still exceeded expectations during his time in Tuscaloosa.
RB T.J. Yeldon
Daphne High School: 2012
Analysis: Yeldon joins Casher as the two youngest players on the list, but his name certainly deserves to be in the mix after rushing for more than 1,1100 yards and 12 touchdowns as a freshman. He’ll take over as the Tide’s featured back this fall, and it’s not out of the question to consider him a Heisman candidate as well.
25mGreg Ostendorf and Alex Scarborough
6dSam Khan Jr.