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Monday, November 18, 2013
Early Offer: Tide tightens grip on No. 1

By Jeremy Crabtree

The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: With the newest edition of the BCS rankings released, we take a look at the biggest headlines of the top five teams from the recruiting trail.

No. 1 Alabama

This past week was anything but slow for the nation’s No. 1-ranked team on the field and on the recruiting trail. The Crimson Tide surprised many recruiting observers when Da'Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge), the No. 6-ranked prospect in the ESPN 300, announced his commitment to Alabama last Thursday. Many projected Hand to commit to Michigan, the school that had been the front-runner throughout most of the recruiting process, but the nation once again learned that you can’t underestimate the recruiting ability of Nick Saban. Hand, along with offensive lineman Cameron Robinson (West Monroe, La./West Monroe), gives Alabama two five-star prospects, and 18 of the Tide's 23 commits are in the ESPN 300 rankings.

No. 2 Florida State

It was Florida State’s turn this past weekend to impress highly-regarded offensive tackle Damian Prince (Forestville, Md./Bishop McNamara), and from all signs the visit went perfectly for the Seminoles. Prince, the nation’s No. 3 offensive tackle, came into the visit leaning toward Maryland. but the Noles aren’t going to make his decision easy. Also on campus was No. 4 defensive end Lorenzo Featherston (Greensboro, N.C./Page), and while he is also leaning elsewhere (Clemson), you can’t count out FSU with him either.

No. 3 Ohio State

With the Buckeyes on the road this past weekend at Illinois, there wasn’t a chance to host prospects on visits, but it looks like December and January will be busy months for OSU. The official visit list for Dec. 13 is already shaping up quite nicely with uncommitted prospects such as offensive lineman Alex Bookser (Mt. Lebanon, Pa./Mt. Lebanon), athlete Marshon Lattimore (Cleveland/Glenville) and safety Erick Smith (Cleveland/Glenville) already on the docket. The Buckeyes have the nation’s No. 9 class but definitely are in position to climb.

No. 4 Baylor

Baylor took another big step toward a Big 12 title this past weekend with a victory over Texas Tech in front of a packed house of recruits in Arlington, Texas. The victory sets up what is without a doubt the biggest game in Bears football history when they travel Saturday to Stillwater to face Oklahoma State. College GameDay will be there, and certainly it will be a monstrous opportunity for Baylor to showcase itself to a national audience and recruits all over the country.

No. 5 Oregon

The Ducks move back into the top five of the BCS rankings but remain at No. 40 in the class rankings. This past weekend the Ducks hosted an impressive list of official and unofficial visitors when Utah was in town. The highest-profile prospects to make it in were No. 9 safety Bishard Baker (Bellevue, Wash./Bellevue), Ducks quarterback commitment Morgan Mahalak (Kentfield, Calif./Marin Catholic) and four-star offensive tackle Chris Brown (Los Angeles/Loyola). Five-star cornerback Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra) decided to visit at a later date after taking official visits the first two weekends in November, but the Ducks still do feel good about their chances to land him.