- Greg Ostendorf, ESPN Staff Writer
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The spotlight was on the quarterbacks and skill players during Alabama’s first camp, but now it shifts to the trenches as the Crimson Tide will host an OL/DL camp on Saturday.
Here’s a look at five 2014 offensive and defensive linemen to keep an eye on this weekend:
OG Rod Taylor (Jackson, Miss./Callaway)
Taylor was first introduced at one of Alabama’s camps a few years back. He came in and dominated the competition, catching the eye of the UA coaching staff who gave him his first offer. Now he’s blossomed into of the top offensive linemen in the country, ranked No. 56 overall in the ESPN 150, with offers from all over the country. The Tide staff knows what he can bring to the table. Still, it doesn’t hurt getting one of the top prospects in for camp and seeing how the other linemen stack up against him. It also provides another opportunity for the staff to get Taylor on campus and give him their best pitch. The recent momentum has been with Ole Miss, but this trip could change things.
OT Bailey Granier (Galliano, La./South Lafourche)
Alabama has already offered Granier, but they want to see the 6-foot-6, 350-pound offensive lineman in camp before ranking him on its board. For Granier, it’s an opportunity to prove himself. He’s already camped at Texas A&M. He’s working out at Mississippi State on Friday, but the Alabama camp is one he circled on his calendar. He visited Tuscaloosa in April for the Tide’s spring game, but this trip is all business.
“The coaches are ready to see me work in person, see me compete,” Granier said. “I’m pretty sure they’ll be satisfied with what I’m going to do. I’m going to work my butt off and be the best player I can be. Hopefully it will be up to their standards or be above their standards.”
DE Breeland Speaks (Jackson, Miss./Callaway)
Speaks, a teammate of Taylor’s, has been one of the hottest recruits during the camp circuit this summer. The 6-foot-3, 281-pound defensive end received an offer from Florida State last week at its camp. He also holds offers from Arkansas, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and South Carolina. Speaks still considers himself an underdog, but the attention and notoriety are clearly starting to pick up. Will Alabama be the next to pull the trigger? Also, wherever Speaks chooses to go to school could ultimately have a significant impact on where Taylor ends up.
DE Cory Thomas (McCalla, Ala./McAdory)
Similar to Speaks, Thomas has been a hot name this spring and into the summer. Since April, he’s added offers from Florida, Florida State, Kentucky, Miami, Ole Miss and Tennessee. He’s made trips to Auburn, Kentucky, Mississippi State and Tennessee all in the last month, but despite all that, he still doesn’t have an offer from Alabama, the hometown school. The UA staff has kept tabs on him, visiting him multiple times this spring, but one of the question marks is how the 6-foot-6, 265-pound Thomas would fit into the Tide’s 3-4 defense. This weekend, he hopes to find his place and earn an offer from the defending national champions.
3dGreg Ostendorf and Alex Scarborough