Spring practice is finished, and the recruiting cycle for the 2014 class is well underway. With the first quarter of the recruiting calendar behind us, here's a look at how the SEC is faring on the trail.
Who they have: Recruiting has picked up in recent weeks for Alabama, with commitments from ESPN 150 linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton (Montgomery, Ala./Carver), in-state cornerback Stephen Roberts (Opelika, Ala./Opelika) and most recently Zach Whitley Jr. (Houston/North Shore), a four-star linebacker from the Lone Star State. Bo Scarbrough (Tuscaloosa, Ala./North Ridge), ranked No. 17 in the initial rankings, became the first member of the 2014 class when he committed to Alabama in September. Listed as an athlete, the 6-foot-2, 215-pound Scarbrough plays running back for his high school team, but he could shift to defense at the next level. The Tide's other commitments come from a pair of teammates in Georgia, defensive backs Kalvaraz Bessent and Chris Williams from Kingsland (Ga.) Camden County.
Who they want: It's clear the coaching staff is being more selective with this class, and it's no surprise that Alabama is involved with a number of top prospects after winning back-to-back national championships. The biggest name out there is Leonard Fournette (New Orleans/Saint Augustine), the top overall player in the first ESPN 150 rankings. There's no need at running back in Tuscaloosa, but Fournette is in the same category as Trent Richardson was a few years back. The biggest position need for the Tide is likely the offensive line, where the top target is offensive tackle Cameron Robinson (West Monroe, La./West Monroe). On defense, Alabama is still looking for pass-rushers, and both Da'Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge) and Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) fit the bill.
Spring storyline: The Alabama coaches have been busy this spring, traveling to see the nation's elite. Last week alone they visited the top four recruits in the ESPN 150 -- Fournette, Jabrill Peppers (Paramus, N.J./Paramus), Andrew Brown (Chesapeake, Va./Oscar Frommel Smith) and Hand.
Bold prediction: With early commitments from two cornerbacks, Bessent and Roberts, the Tide might have room for only one additional cornerback in this class. The likeliest candidate is five-star Marlon Humphrey (Hoover, Ala./Hoover). -- Greg Ostendorf
Scouts' overall trend: Up. Of players from Alabama's 2008 and 2009 classes, 16 percent have been drafted in first round of the NFL draft. In all, 17 players -- more than 25 percent -- from those two classes, including the 10 selected in the first round, have been drafted. Is that any good? The Crimson Tide own three of the past four BCS championships because they have hit on their four- and five-star signees, and the three-stars have been developed and outperformed their ranking (see Marcell Dareus and Dont'a Hightower). -- Tom Luginbill