Saban looks to dip back into the Bayou

No rivalry in college football the past few years has had a greater impact on the national championship race than Alabama versus LSU.

Between them, they've won four of the past six national championships, and they squared off against each other in the BCS National Championship Game in 2011.

On the field, it's been about as intense as it gets, and look for that intensity to only ratchet up a few notches on the recruiting trail over the next 10 or 11 months.

The state of Louisiana is absolutely loaded for the 2014 class, and Alabama coach Nick Saban has his sights set on several of the top prospects from the Bayou. Mike Herndon of AL.com had an excellent piece earlier this week on the impending recruiting battle between Alabama and LSU.

Both schools know a little something about acquiring and developing premium talent. LSU sent 13 players to the NFL combine last month and has had 17 players drafted over the past three years. Alabama sent 10 players to the recent combine and has had 20 players drafted over the past three years.

Recruits choose schools for all sorts of reasons, but I still contend that one of the main factors for the most coveted prospects is finding a school they think will best aid them in their pursuit of an NFL career.

The top prize in Louisiana (and maybe the country) in 2014 is running back Leonard Fournette of New Orleans. The 6-foot, 215-pound Fournette is scheduled to visit Alabama unofficially this weekend along with his high school teammate, cornerback Jermaine Roberts, who's also been offered by Alabama.

For those who love recruiting, sit back and enjoy because the battle for Fournette should be epic. LSU's not about to let a talent of his caliber get out of the state. That said, Saban still has plenty of clout in Louisiana. He got top safety Landon Collins out of Geismar, La., in the 2012 class.

Over and above Fournette, offensive tackle Cameron Robinson of West Monroe, La., and safety Laurence Jones of Monroe, La., could also end up being Alabama-LSU battles.

So we won't have to wait until Nov. 9 in Tuscaloosa to watch these two juggernauts go at it again. They're already slugging it out on the recruiting trail.