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Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Tales From the Road: Alabama

By Greg Ostendorf

Each week, Tales From The Road provides news and updates about where Alabama’s coaches are recruiting and which prospects are getting noticed.

This week’s targets: Spring practice is over in most states with the exception of California and Florida. Consequently, the Alabama coaching staff has made those two states a priority this week in recruiting. On Monday, UA offensive line coach Mario Cristobal made a stop at La Mirada (Calif.) High School. Even though it’s not his designated area, Cristobal likely wanted to see ESPN 150 tight end Tyler Luatua, who has been called an unbelievable blocker by his coach. La Mirada also has a 2014 offensive lineman, Michael Trani, who has seen his recruitment take off this spring. Cristobal made a stop at Corona (Calif.) Centennial on Tuesday to see ESPN 150 offensive lineman Viane Talamaivao, and he’s also expected to see four-star offensive lineman Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./John Bosco) while on the West Coast.

Area of interest: Louisiana is notorious for the talent that comes out of New Orleans every year, but some of the state’s top 2014 prospects hail from the northern part of the state, primarily the Monroe area. Alabama has found success there before with current linebacker Denzel Devall, but that would be nothing compared to the recruits to be had in this class. It starts with five-star offensive tackle Cameron Robinson (West Monroe, La./West Monroe) and ESPN 150 safety Laurence Jones (Monroe, La./Neville), who both visited Alabama last month for A-Day. Last week, UA assistant coach Billy Napier was at Ouachita High School’s spring game to watch wide receiver Cameron Sims. He finished with four catches for 165 yards and three touchdowns.

Prospect performance: The state of Alabama has elite talent in the 2014 class, and it showed on the field last week. The state’s top player, five-star cornerback Marlon Humphrey (Hoover, Ala./Hoover), didn’t participate in his spring game, but ESPN 150 running back Racean Thomas put on a show during his game. The Oxford (Ala.) High School star ran the ball seven times for 124 yards and two touchdowns in just two quarters of action. He took the first carry 73 yards for a score. Coaches from both Alabama and Auburn were at the game. At Calera (Ala.) High School, ESPN 150 athlete Ronnie Clark rushed for three touchdowns in the first half alone. He’s playing quarterback this season for the Eagles.

Word on the street: Four-star wide receiver Dominique Booth (Indianapolis/Pike) cut his list of schools to four this week, and he plans to make a decision on Friday. He will choose between Alabama, Florida State, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. The favorite right now looks to be the Volunteers. Booth is high on Alabama, and although his mother visited Tuscaloosa over the weekend, he doesn’t look like a commit for the Tide at this point. The staff has a few wide receivers ahead of him on their board, namely ESPN 150 star Ermon Lane (Homestead, Fla./Homestead). Vanderbilt could be the darkhorse in all of this.

What to watch: The spring evaluation period is nearly over, and the Alabama coaching staff will likely turn its focus to the summer camp, which begins in less than two weeks.