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August 27, 2012

Walker's pledge gives class a boost

The University of Alabama landed one of its marquee prospects last week - and he's already talking of taking other visits. The high school football season kicked off for several teams, while others played in preseason jamborees. Several of the Tide's top targets displayed their talents during the weekend.

The long-awaited news for the Crimson Tide came last Friday when DeMarcus Walker, a Rivals100 defensive end from Sandalwood High School in Jacksonville, Fla., committed to Alabama. Walker became commitment No. 19 in the 2013 recruiting class. He vaulted the Crimson Tide to the No. 4 overall class in the country behind Southern California, Michigan and LSU.

"They have a great coaching staff, and you can't not like their record of putting players in the NFL," Walker told Rivals.com. "My goal is the play in the league, and they get their players there."

The University of Florida had been considered No. 2 on Walker's list, but Auburn finished second in the race followed by the Gators. Walker will still take visits in the fall, with stops at Alabama, Auburn, Florida and Tennessee.

"Florida could have easily won the race had they offered me earlier," Walker told InsidetheGators.com, a Rivals.com affiliate. "If you go back and look at my time line, I took more visits to Florida than any other place. Alabama offered me before Florida did."

Several Tide targets and commitments returned to the field last weekend.

Altee Tenpenny, a Rivals100 running back and Alabama commitment from North Little Rock High School in Arkansas, suffered a broken ankle at the beginning of his junior season which sidelined him for the year. The 5-foot-11, 215-pound prospect is now considered 100 percent healthy. He rushed only three times fpr 45 yards in a preseason game over the weekend.

"It felt great being back out there," he said. "It's great being able to help my team to a state-championship season. It was good to get the butterflies out in the first game.

I feel like I am quicker in and out of my breaks. I have better field vision. I am more powerful than I was a year ago."

Tenpenny is still a top target for other schools. He mentioned Alabama, Arkansas and Oklahoma State as schools where he'll have official visits. He is also considering trips to Georgia, Notre Dame and Tennessee. He has tentative plans to attend Alabama's season opener against Michigan this weekend in Arlington, Texas.

TideSports.com has the complete interview with Tenpenny, who spoke of his commitment to Alabama, how he feels about visiting Tuscaloosa and other running backs the Tide coaching staff is recruiting.

O.J. Howard, a five-star tight end and Alabama commitment from Autauga Academy in Prattville, scored three touchdowns in his team's first regular-season game, a 34-17 win against Coosa Valley.

Tyren Jones, a four-star running back and Alabama commitment from Walton High School in Marietta., Ga., was the star of the weekend. Jones ripped off 302 yards on 31 carries and five touchdowns in a 35-24 win against Brookwood (Ga.) in the Corky Kell Classic at the Georgia Dome. Jones made a recent visit to the University of Georgia, but his commitment to Alabama is firm. He will take an official visit to Alabama along with Georgia, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.

Bo Scarbrough, a 2014 athlete from Northridge, is another Tide target. He had 10 rushes for 98 yards in one half of action against McGill-Toolen on Saturday night in the Champions Challenge in Montgomery. The 6-2, 223-pound junior suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee last fall. The Jaguars failed to score, but are hoping to bounce back strong in the season opener at home Friday night against Bob Jones.

"It feels great to be back on the field," Scarbrough told The Tuscaloosa News. "I am very proud of myself and what I did tonight. There's going to be more coming."

Jalen Hurd, a running back/ athlete from Beech High School in Hendersonville, Tenn., had a night to remember last Friday, rushing for 451 yards on 37 carries with five touchdowns. His numbers rank No. 3 on the all-time list in the state of Tennessee and only 52 yards short of the state record.

Hurd, a 6-3, 210-pound junior, was a standout performer at Alabama's camp in July. He earned a scholarship offer from the Crimson Tide last spring, along with offers from several other top programs across the country. Hurd has a top five which consists of Alabama, Michigan, Ole Miss, Ohio State and Vanderbilt. The Crimson Tide is considered a heavy favorite at this point for his signature in 2014.

"They are still on top for me," Hurd said. "They are just coming off the national championship. Coach (Nick) Saban is a great coach. He has aspects of his coaching ability that separates him from others. I also want to go to a college that is somewhat close to home."

Join TideSports.com for extensive recruiting coverage of Alabama commitments and top Tide targets. Three online chat sessions are provided each week featuring Cecil Hurt, Chase Goodbread, Andrew Bone, Tommy Deas and Aaron Suttles.

Don't miss the blanket coverage TideSports.com provides with complete video interviews and highlights as UA readies for the season opener and Alabama high school football kicks off this week.

Reach Andrew Bone at andrew@tidesports.com and follow him on Twitter at @AndrewJBone

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