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Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Bama-LSU rivalry cranks up in recruiting

By David Helman

SEC competition is done for the year as far as the football field is concerned, but now it's time for things to get interesting.

A year ago, a flurry of activity that preceded the Tigers' national title game tilt with Alabama. In between Tyrann Mathieu's trip to the Heisman Trophy ceremony and LSU's eventual national title game loss, there came plenty of news on the recruiting front. The highlight of that was easily ESPN 150 safety Landon Collins' commitment to Alabama at the 2012 Under Armour All-America Game -- a controversial decision in favor of the Crimson Tide.

LSU and Alabama won’t meet on the field until next fall, but the rivalry will stay intense as both programs turn their attention to the remaining pieces of the 2012 recruiting effort.

ESPN 150 athlete Kendell Beckwith (East Feliciana/Clinton, La.) is going to figure prominently in those conversations, just as he has for much of the past year. The No. 19 player in the country just finished his season this past weekend, when he threw for two touchdowns and rushed for 100 yards while tallying six tackles in a state semifinal loss.

Beckwith can't be happy to be out of the state championship weekend this weekend in New Orleans, which will see more than a dozen college prospects square off on Friday and Saturday night. But the timing couldn't be better for the Tide and Tigers, who now have exactly a month until Beckwith plans to make his college decision in St. Petersburg, Fla. -- much like Collins last winter.

The same can be said for ESPN 150 defensive end Tim Williams (Baton Rouge, La./University Laboratory), who hopes to begin taking official visits this month now that his Cubs have been eliminated from the Class 2A competition.

With Louisiana's natural talent base, as well Alabama coach Nick Saban's ties to the area, expect this to be a trend that continues. The Tigers don't seem likely to add any Alabama talent with the remainder of this recruiting class, but their top commitment in linebacker Kwon Alexander came from Oxford, Ala.

The onfield rivalry between Alabama and LSU is decades old, but it's a relatively new phenomenon for the two to fight for all the same prospects. If the Crimson Tide is able to pluck away Louisiana's top player for the second straight year, consider it quite the victory for Alabama -- regardless of what happens in Miami.