Alabama's top-ranked 2014 recruiting class was built around one of the biggest offensive line recruiting classes in country, which included six of the nation's top-rated linemen. Despite the massive haul of frontline talent, Alabama once again appears to be looking to make the offensive line a major part of its currently No. 1-ranked 2015 recruiting class, though this time the Crimson Tide is placing more focus on the middle of its line rather than the tackle positions.
After landing its third offensive line commitment of the 2015 class last Friday from Washington D.C. star , Alabama now holds verbal pledges from a trio of four-star interior linemen, each of whom is rated among the .
While all three prospects are highly-regarded as interior line prospects, they also share the coveted trait of versatility, something that has proven to be an important attribute to Nick Saban and the Alabama coaching staff when it comes to linemen. All three players have the size and athleticism to line up on the outside to play offensive tackle as well, which is likely where all three players will line up during their upcoming senior seasons at the high school level.
While he wasn't on the radar of many recruiting experts until recently, Central-Tuscaloosa star is currently the highest-ranked of the Tide's offensive line commits, landing at the No. 2 spot in 247Sports' rankings of the nation's top offensive guard prospects. At 6-foot-4 and 325 pounds, Cotton has the size to handle massive defensive tackles on his own and proved that to be the case recently at the Birmingham Nike Camp when he held his own against Shades Valley 5-star defensive tackle Daron Payne.
Petitbon, the Tide's most recent commitment, is ranked by 247Sports as the No. 5 offensive guard prospect in the country and a top 100 overall prospect. The grandson and namesake of the former NFL coach and All-Pro safety, Petitbon said following his commitment that Saban and offensive line coach Mario Cristobal see Petitbon's versatility as a key asset for the Crimson Tide going forward.
"As of right now, the conversation with Coach Cristobal and Coach Saban is that they see me playing at every position," following his commitment. "They've said that I'm a guy that could come in early and if someone goes down at any position on the line, I can jump in there at a high level."
Rounding out the group is Atlanta star , younger brother of former Tide star and current Tennessee Titans lineman Chance Warmack. The younger Warmack has already made a name for himself in his own right, earning an invitation to Nike's The Opening this summer and landing the No. 10 spot in the 247Sports offensive guard rankings. Warmack, a 6-foot-2, 306-pound prospect, is still being heavily pursued by other schools including Auburn and Georgia but has held firm in his commitment to Alabama so far.
While Alabama will continue to pursue more highly-ranked offensive line prospects, including the nation's top overall line prospect Martez Ivey and five-star guard Jalin Barnett, the versatility of the Tide's three early OL commits gives Saban and his staff flexibility to pursue both interior and exterior line prospects as the recruiting cycle continues. Alabama built it's No. 1 ranked 2014 signing class around the line of scrimmage and while it's still early in the 2015 cycle, Saban and his staff appear to be using that same playbook once again.Thank you for subscribing. You should receive your first newsletter within 24 hours. To view and subscribe to any of our other newsletters, please .