Enrolling early is a major advantage for recruits who are mentally ready to skip their final semester of high school and begin a college curriculum and weight training program. Additionally, enrolling early allows the recruit to become acclimated with the program and participate in spring practice -- a major leg up on the other incoming players who must wait until the summer to start school.
Alabama is welcoming eight early enrollees for the 2014 recruiting class, which consists of 24 members including 18 four- and five-stars.
Jarran Reed, a four-star defensive tackle recruit out of East Mississippi Community College, has a short time to play at Alabama because of the time he spent at junior college, so enrolling early will be a big help in his quest to earn a starting position. Reed chose Alabama over offers from Nebraska, Tennessee, Ole Miss and Mississippi State. He should provide immediate help along the defensive line. Reed was rated as the second-best defensive tackle and 14th-best overall prospect among junior college players nationally.
Reed will be joined in Tuscaloosa by D.J. Pettway. Pettway is an impressive defensive end recruit, also out of East Mississippi Community College. Pettway is rated four stars by the 247sports composite -- a combination of the four major recruit rating services, and is rated the third-best defensive end and 16th-best overall prospect among junior college recruits nationally. He also held offers from Florida State, Tennessee and Ole Miss. Pettway was kicked off the team in 2013 after being arrested on a robbery charge, and will be returning to the school.
Cameron Robinson is another recruit enrolling early for the Tide. From West Monroe (La.) High School, Robinson is a very highly-touted offensive tackle. He is rated as a five-star recruit by the 247sports composite, and is ranked as the best offensive tackle in the country (as well as the third-best overall prospect). He also held offers from Auburn, LSU, Michigan, Oklahoma and Texas. Be sure to check out our scouting report on him.
Tony Brown is another five-star prospect who will enroll early at Alabama. From Beaumont, Texas, he attends Ozen High School and is one of the top-rated corners in the country. As well as bestowing on him the five-star rating, the 247sports composite ranks Brown as the third-best corner in the class and the ninth-best prospect. He also held offers from LSU, USC, Texas and Ohio State, among others. Here's our scouting report of Brown.
Laurence "Hootie" Jones is an impressive prospect who will enroll early in Tuscaloosa and will try to make his presence known in the secondary. He attends Neville High School and hails from Monroe, La., where he is one of the top safeties in the country. Rated as a four-star by the 247sports composite, Jones is ranked as the fourth-best safety in the country and the 49th-best overall prospect. Jones also held offers from LSU, Oklahoma and Ohio State. He briefly decommitted from Alabama before re-pledging to the program.
David Cornwell will start his campaign to be the next great Alabama quarterback early, as the four-star prospect will enroll in the spring. From Norman North (Okla.) High School, Cornwell is rated as the fourth-best pro-style quarterback in the country and the 65th-best player in the class. He also received offers from Auburn, Miami, Missouri and Oklahoma State. Here's our scouting report of him.
Cameron Sims could be one of Cornwell's top targets, and the wide receiver will enroll early as well. Out of Ouachita Parish (La.), Sims hails from Monroe and is considered a four-star prospect by the 247sports composite. He is rated as the 15th-best wide receiver in the class and the 100th-best overall prospect. He received offers from Auburn, Georgia, Notre Dame and USC, among others.
Shaun Hamilton is the final player in Alabama's class who is, as of now, planning to enroll early. From Montgomery, Ala., he attends Carver High School and is considered a four-star inside linebacker. The 247sports composite ranks him as the eighth-best inside linebacker in the country and the 199th-best overall prospect. He received offers from Auburn, Clemson, Florida State and USC, among others.
Still to come
Alabama also holds non-binding verbal commitments from several star recruits it hopes to sign on February 5, National Signing Day.
The best of the unsigned commitments for Alabama is Da'Shawn Hand. Hand, a five-star defensive end out of Woodbridge (Va.) High School, chose Alabama over offers from Florida, Michigan, Florida State, Ohio State and USC. He is the top-ranked strong-side defensive end and the fourth-ranked overall player in the country. Check out our scouting report of him.
Christian Miller is another prospect who is not scheduled to enroll early. Miller, a four-star outside linebacker from Spring Valley (S.C.) High School, chose Alabama over offers from Clemson, Florida State, Georgia and UCLA. He is considered the second-best outside linebacker and the 34th-best overall prospect in the country.