Tide early leader for 2014 ATH Hurd

Among the most coveted 2014 prospects in the South, athlete Jalen Hurd of Hendersonville (Tenn.) Beech Senior isn't anywhere close to picking a college.
But admittedly, two of them stand out.
"It's Alabama first, then Ohio State," Hurd told Rivals.com on Tuesday.

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Not only does Hurd like both programs, he likes how they have approached his recruitment.
"They both have phenomenal head coaches, but they've talked to me personally, asked how I've done and offered me over the phone," Hurd said. "That really means a lot to me. It means a lot when Nick Saban talks to me over the phone. A lot of head coaches don't do that. That's one of the reasons I've got them in my top two. [Urban Meyer] has talked to me on the phone. He was telling me how great an athlete I am. He's showing a lot of interest in me, and said they're going to recruit me hard."
According to Hurd, Tennessee and Vanderbilt are not far behind the Tide and Buckeyes.
"All the schools are so close it's ridiculous," Hurd said. "Alabama is No. 1 but these other schools are not far off. I've had a chance to sit down and hang out with the Vandy coach. That was a pretty good time."
The 6-feet-2, 190-pound Hurd has visited Alabama, Tennessee and Vanderbilt in 2012. Those three are among the nine programs to offer.
"I've been to UT several times, and I've been to Vanderbilt countless times," Hurd said. "I live right next to Vanderbilt. I loved Alabama. They're all great, but the one that stood out was Bama. They have great facilities, one of the greatest workout rooms I've ever seen and a great nutritional program. When they get you to college, they want you to bulk up and look the part. They want you bigger, stronger, faster. They also have an indoor facility. Stuff like that."
Alabama and Ohio State are recruiting Hurd as an athlete, he said. Meantime, Tennessee and Vanderbilt like him at running back.
"My preference is running back," Hurd said. "That's why they're all so close. You have two great schools that want me as an athlete. Then you've got two other great schools that want me at the position I love. It's going to be a hard choice."
Hurd plans to visit Alabama again this summer. He also hopes to make his way to Ohio State. Other trips are possible.
Keith Niebuhr can be reached at Keithrivals@yahoo.com. You can follow him on Twitter @KeithRIVALS.