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Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Recruiting battles: Alabama vs. Texas A&M

By Greg Ostendorf

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Texas A&M has always lived in the state of Texas when it comes to recruiting. Every year, the majority of the Aggies’ class comes from the Lone Star State, and with the wealth of talent in their own backyard, why look anywhere else?

Damion Square
Damion Square was committed to Texas A&M in the 2008 recruiting class before switching to Alabama.
With Texas A&M and the other Big 12 powers who reside in Texas, it’s hard for any outside school to come in and steal a recruit away, but if one school could do it, it would be the University of Alabama. However, even the Crimson Tide have to had to pick and choose their battles.

Since Nick Saban took over at Alabama in 2007, he has only signed seven players from the state of Texas. The most notable recruiting battle with the Aggies came while Saban was putting together his first full recruiting class in 2008.

Defensive end Damion Square, a Houston native, committed to Texas A&M early in the process after attending a junior day in College Station. After reopening his recruitment, Square later committed to the Tide right before his senior season, noting Saban as a major factor in his decision.

Now the fifth-year senior is a starter for Alabama on the defensive line and has a chance to win his third national championship.

In 2010, UA signed three players from the Lone Star State -- kicker Cade Foster, offensive lineman Chad Lindsay and wide receiver DeAndrew White. Both Lindsay and White had offers from Texas A&M before they picked the Tide.

Since then, Alabama has signed just one player from Texas, three-star quarterback Alec Morris. The 6-foot-3, 240-pound signal caller didn’t have a lot of offers when he committed, but he came to Tuscaloosa this fall as a true freshman and competed for the backup quarterback job.

Don’t think Saban isn’t going to try his luck in Texas if there’s a player he likes. He’s already landed a commitment in 2013 from ESPN 150 cornerback Maurice Smith (Sugar Land, Texas/Dulles). Four-star defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson (Fort Worth, Texas/Arlington Heights), a Texas commitment, plans to visit UA this weekend.

Still, with the resurgence of the Texas A&M program under new head coach Kevin Sumlin, it might become even harder for the Tide to recruit in Texas. Not to mention, now that the Aggies are in the SEC, they could start moving more into the Tide’s territory for recruits.

Sumlin already has a commitment from Auburn, Ala., athlete Cameron Echols-Luper in this year’s class.