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MONDAY, JANUARY 22, 2007
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Crimson Tide recruiting hits full stride

By Josh Cooper
jcooper@decaturdaily.com· 340-2460

Nick Saban is now armed and loaded for recruiting.

With the arrival of assistant coach Burton Burns at Alabama on Jan. 16, the new Crimson Tide coach has the staff to recruit like he wants.

When asked about recruiting upon arriving in Tuscaloosa, Saban made a point of saying that if players who already had committed to Alabama shopped around, he would, too.

That already has begun with quarterback Robert Marve of Plant High in Tampa, Fla.

Marve, who is considered a soft commitment for Alabama, looked at the University of Miami this weekend and came away impressed.

“I really liked it a lot,” Marve told scout.com. “It’s a really nice place, very impressive. We looked at the academic part of the school.

“And from a football standpoint, I basically got to see what it’s like to be a Miami Hurricane football player for a weekend. I really fit in well, I thought.”

Marve’s visit to Miami comes one week after he took an official visit to Tuscaloosa. After looking at Alabama, Marve said his father liked the school and that Saban impressed them as a coach.

Marve said he plans to visit Hawaii next week and then take one more visit, to a school he has not identified.

McGill-Toolen’s Sidell Corley visited Alabama this past weekend and came back raving, according to rivals.com

“I give this visit a perfect 10,” said Corley, who has committed to Florida. “It was good, and the way the coaches and players were to me stood out the most. Nobody tried to recruit me — they just treated me like one of the guys.”

Also, just as Saban did when he took JaMarcus Russell out of Alabama as LSU’s head coach, he is putting some effort toward the top player from LSU’s backyard in Louisiana.

This past week, Saban visited running back Joe McKnight of John Curtis High in River Ridge, La. Burns has a reputation as a top recruiter in Louisiana, and if Alabama brings in McKnight, Burns likely will play a role.

McKnight is ranked as a top-five player in the nation by several recruiting services. He will make an official visit to Alabama, according to ESPN.com, but has not disclosed when.

“I followed the whole coaching search and was curious to see if (Saban) took the job,” McKnight told rivals.com. “When he did, I was hoping he would at least contact me.

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