News from the Tennessee Valley Sports

Defensive tackle commits to Tide

By Josh Cooper · 340-2460

Just as Nick Saban did while he was at LSU, the Alabama coach is peering into his rival state and trying to harvest its talent.

Luther Davis, a four-star prospect according to, publicly committed to the Crimson Tide football program Friday. He originally had said he would attend LSU.

“Coach Saban was a huge reason for me switching because I believe in what he is trying to do and I know how great of a coach he can be,” said the 6-foot-4, 254-pound defensive tackle from West Monroe, La.

“I know he’s going to have Alabama in the national championship game in the next three years. My relationship with him and Coach (Lance) Thompson was the difference.”

Thompson is a defensive assistant coach for the Crimson Tide and one of Saban’s first hires when he came aboard Jan. 3.

One of the biggest fallouts by landing Davis is his influence on landing other in-state Louisiana talent, primarily John Curtis High running back Joe McKnight of River Ridge.

McKnight is considered by several recruiting services as the top tailback available this year.

He has visited Southern California and Ole Miss. Also, this past weekend, he visited LSU.

According to an article on, McKnight may visit Alabama this weekend.

“There is no leader,” McKnight told Scout. “I’m doing what I said I would do — going on my visits and soaking everything in. When I am finished with my visits, I will make a decision.”

One of the more riveting stories behind Saban and his recruiting is the commitment of quarterback Robert Marve from Plant High in Tampa, Fla.

The crown jewel in former coach Mike Shula’s recruiting class, Marve wavered on his commitment after Shula was fired Nov. 26.

Marve has visited Alabama, Miami and looked at Hawaii in the past week.

Saban takes a “you shop, we shop” stance on recruiting and Marve’s flirtations with other schools led to Alabama landing San Antonio quarterback Nick Fanuzzi. Fanuzzi publicly committed to the Crimson Tide on Monday.

The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Fanuzzi had visited Miami and Michigan State.

Marve is ranked 14th among quarterbacks on Scout’s Web site, while Fanuzzi weighs in at 31st.

“I am not going to base my decision on other people’s decisions,” Marve said. “I am trying to find the right fit for me and the right spot that I can get my degree and be successful.”

Tide staff change

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that the Cleveland Browns hired Alabama assistant football coach Steve Marshall as their offensive line coach.

No official communication has been released by either The University of Alabama or the Browns.

Marshall is a former offensive line coach with the Houston Texans and was hired by Saban on Jan. 12.

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