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Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Alabama-LSU: The recruits who got away

By Gary Laney and Greg Ostendorf

Editor's note: This week, GeauxTigerNation and TideNation will examine all aspects of the LSU-Alabama rivalry during the Nick Saban-Les Miles era. Today's stories focus on the past and future of the schools' recruiting battles.

The LSU-Alabama rivalry extends well beyond the football field. Since Nick Saban took over the Tide, he and Tigers coach Les Miles have clashed in some epic recruiting battles. Through that, both coaches have learned that you can’t get everybody on your wish list, regardless of ties or proximity.

Here’s a list of five prospects who got away from Alabama and five who got away from LSU in what has become one of the nation's top recruiting rivalries.

Five who got away from Alabama:

WR Chris Tolliver, 2008 (Rayville, La./Rayville): It was a classic Tide-Tigers battle for Tolliver, the nation's No. 11 wide receiver. He took official visits to Alabama and LSU in consecutive weeks right before he made his decision. Although he chose to stay in state, the Tide were able to steal his teammate and fellow wide receiver Kenny Bell the following year.

WR Rueben Randle, 2009 (Bastrop, La./Bastrop): Alabama was in the running for Randle right up until signing day. The nation’s top wide receiver visited Tuscaloosa just weeks before making his final decision. As a sophomore at LSU, Randle burned the Tide with three catches for 125 yards and a touchdown. He was a second-round draft pick by the New York Giants in 2012.

LB Kwon Alexander, 2012 (Oxford, Ala./Oxford): An injury his senior year caused some teams, including Alabama, to back off, but it opened the door for LSU. Ranked No. 29 nationally, Alexander was quite a steal for the Tigers. He played in seven games as a freshman and could be in line to start this season.

ATH Kendell Beckwith, 2013 (Jackson, La./East Feliciana): Although he lived just an hour from LSU’s campus, Beckwith considered Alabama throughout the recruiting process. He made multiple trips to Tuscaloosa for junior day, for A-Day, for camp and for his official visit, but in the end, he turned down the Tide.

G Andy Dodd, 2013 (Lindale, Ga./Pepperell): Dodd first committed to Alabama in March 2012 but later that summer, following a visit to LSU, the ESPN 300 offensive lineman flipped to the Tigers. He was a high school teammate of current Tide defensive tackle Dakota Ball.

Five who got away from LSU:

DE Luther Davis, 2007 (West Monroe, La./West Monroe): It was an early recruiting victory for Saban to pick a top Louisiana prospect who had been committed to the Tigers. Davis gave Alabama depth on the defensive line, never emerging as a full-time starter but giving the Crimson Tide valuable snaps.

Eddie Lacy
LSU's interest in other running backs allowed Alabama to swoop in and grab Eddie Lacy out of suburban Baton Rouge.
RB Eddie Lacy, 2009 (Geismar, La./Dutchtown): LSU was more enamored of the more highly touted Michael Ford out of Leesville, La., and was also concerned about Lacy's academic status. That opened the door for Alabama to swoop into the Baton Rouge suburbs to land a future second-round NFL draft pick.

WR Kenny Bell, 2009 (Rayville, La./Rayville): Chalk this up to good scouting. Bell was not the most sought-after recruit, but Alabama saw something in him and scooped him out of Louisiana. He has delivered 36 catches for 722 yards in three seasons, increasing his production each year for the Tide.

S Landon Collins, 2012 (Geismar, La./Dutchtown): Most expected Collins to pledge to LSU at the Under Armour All-America Game, but he instead revealed Alabama gloves, much to the chagrin of his mother. Collins is the most highly regarded Louisiana propsect Saban has landed so far.

DE Tim Williams, 2013 (Baton Rouge, La./University): While Williams was generally regarded as one of the best prospects in Louisiana, LSU seemed ambivalent about a star who was prepping on LSU's own campus. That created an opening for Alabama to win over the player who turned out to be the state's No. 2 player in the ESPN 300.