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Alabama signs the top ranked recruiting class…again

UA_VT023On paper (or laptop, tablet, smartphones or whatever other reporting medium you use), Alabama had one of the best recruiting classes in the Universities history and for that matter, one of the best classes in the history of recruiting.  Top recruiting guru Tom Luginbill called what Nick Saban put together in 2014 “a sensational class” while colleague and 16-year veteran reporter Jeremy Crabtree calls the 2014 class “the best I’ve ever seen”.  The Crimson Tide’s recruiting class took the top spot for the third (fourth by some rankings) consecutive year but this year the class that was unanimously ranked as the nation’s No. 1 class by 247Sports.com, Rivals.com, ESPN and Scout.com. It’s the first time all four of the major services agreed on the top ranking.

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The Crimson Tide landed the most five-star rated players (six) than any school since the rankings started and 15 four-star players (depending on the service you follow).  Just for comparison the Big Ten combined (that’s 14 teams) only had four 5-star recruits to sign in the 2014 class. Of the 27 total signees Coach Saban and staff were responsible for inking there were more five-star players (6) than three-stars (5).  Alabama signed yet another college football best with 19 athletes from the ESPN 300,

Just to name a few from the class and throw out a ‘what-if’ scenario, the future of the defense looks to be in good hands.  With the possibility to have dual lock-down-corners with Marlon Humphrey and Tony Brown, the speed and size at linebacker of Rashaan Evans and Keith Holcombe  to cover the sweeps and flats while  Da’Shawn Hand puts on the pressure this class could lead the way for another top ranked Alabama defense for a few years to come.Four of the six five-star recruits for the Crimson Tide are on the defensive side of the ball where there is a need for “fast-twitch” athletic defenders to play on the ends against spread offenses as Saban explained in his press conference Wednesday afternoon.

On the other side of the ball Alabama signed an impressive offensive line with this class which is led by Cameron Robinson who is the No. 1 OT coming out of high school.  But he’s not the only one in the trenches for this class. The Crimson Tide signed five on the O-line that are ranked in the top 200 and ranked one, two or three in their respective positions. Linemen on both sides of the ball were critical needs as Saban said they were “thin”.  Alabama is becoming known as O-Line University as they have produced a top NFL drafted lineman in each of the past several drafts.

MD029_615x340Now, Nick Saban doesn’t deal with what-if’s and he doesn’t sign a player because they might play in the NFL someday.  In fact, the recruiting mastermind doesn’t really look at the rankings of the players or how they will pan out next year.  Besides, there are inevitably cases where top ranked high school players just don’t work out as expected at the college level for many reasons.  “I can’t really comment much about the rankings, guys,” Saban said, “because I really do think the most accurate way to be able to rank any recruiting class would be three years down the road because I think the challenge for all these young men that got recruited today, wherever they’re going, is to be able to stay focused on what they need to do to improve as players and do the things that they need to do to become very effective college football players, and it is a challenge to go from high school to college.”

One thing is for certain however, if a highly touted player makes the commitment to Nick Saban’s philosophy and puts in the hard work he may just find himself standing on stage holding an NFL jersey one day.  Take a look at Alabama’s last several five-star players. Each of them have been called during the first round of the NFL Draft.

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