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Friday, July 12, 2013
Alabama camp: Five storylines to watch

By Greg Ostendorf

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The defending national champions are preparing to host their final camp of the summer next week, and some of the top 2014 and 2015 prospects nationally are expected to descend on the University of Alabama. The camp runs Sunday through Wednesday.

Here are five storylines to watch as the Crimson Tide's camp plays out.

Addressing the OL

Alabama has made the offensive line a priority in this class. The Tide already have four commitments, and they're far from finished. At next week's camp, the staff is expecting to see Damian Prince (Forestville, Md./Bishop McNamara), Braden Smith (Olathe, Kan./South), Donell Stanley (Latta, S.C./Latta) and Jordan Sims (Homewood, Ala./Homewood), four offensive linemen who are ranked in the ESPN 300.

Prince and Smith already have offers. For Sims, he has an offer that is contingent on his performance at camp. The in-state product is hoping to impress the coaches and earn a spot in Alabama's class. Stanley is still looking for his offer from the Tide, but if he earns one next week, there's a chance he would commit on the spot.

Juco visitors

In addition to the four offensive linemen mentioned above, Alabama also will host junior college offensive tackle Chad Mavety (Garden City, N.Y./Nassau CC) next week. The 6-foot-6, 320-pound prospect is planning to arrive on campus Sunday and stay through Monday. It will be his first trip to Tuscaloosa. He was offered by the Tide in February. Last month, he visited Ohio State, Syracuse and Tennessee.

Mavety isn't the only junior college prospect expected to visit Alabama next week. The UA staff also plans to entertain athlete Tyreek Hill (Garden City, Kan./Garden City CC), who is considered one of the fastest recruits in the 2014 class.

Neither prospect will participate in the Tide's camp.

WR competition

If there's one position where a commitment could be imminent, it's wide receiver. Alabama already has a verbal pledge from four-star Derek Kief (Cincinnati/LaSalle), but they Tide are bringing in a trio of ESPN 300 wide receivers next week -- Cameron Sims (Monroe, La./Ouachita), Saeed Blacknall (Manalapan, N.J./Manalapan) and Austin Roberts (Carmel, Ind./Carmel).

All three have offers, but with top wide receiver target Ermon Lane (Homestead, Fla./Homestead) still on the board, the staff might have room to take only one. Sims is the leading candidate, but if Blacknall or Roberts come to camp and impress the coaches, they could earn a spot in the class.

Speaking of Lane, he was rumored to be planning to visit Alabama next week, but nothing has been confirmed.

Jump start on 2015

Alabama will have plenty of 2014 visitors on campus next week, but the July camp is usually intended more for the 2015 class. It gives the staff an early look at the juniors-to-be, and there will be some good ones participating this year.

Tide commitments Mekhi Brown (Columbus, Ga./Carver) and Deionte Thompson (Orange, Texas/West Orange Stark) are both planning to make the trip. Some of the other top names include athlete Shawn Burgess-Becker (Coconut Creek, Fla./Monarch), quarterback Kevin Dillman (La Mirada, Calif./La Mirada), athlete Kerryon Johnson (Madison, Ala./Madison Academy) and defensive tackles Daron Payne (Birmingham, Ala./Shades Valley) and Shy Tuttle (Lexington, N.C./North Davidson).

Extra recruiters

Helping the staff recruit next week will be a number of Alabama's top 2014 commitments. The headliner is ESPN 300 quarterback David Cornwell (Norman, Okla./North) who has taken an active role in putting together a special recruiting class. He'll joined by in-state commitments Shaun Dion Hamilton (Montgomery, Ala./Carver), Stephen Roberts (Opelika, Ala./Opelika) and Bo Scarbrough (Tuscaloosa, Ala./Tuscaloosa County). ESPN 300 linebacker Zach Whitley Jr. (Houston/North Shore) also will make the trip and is expected to arrive on Sunday.

As a whole, the group can only help the Tide’s efforts in bringing in a commitment or two next week, and spending time together will continue to develop the bond between them.