In 2008, Nick Saban’s first full class at Alabama, the Crimson Tide brought in a class that ranks towards the top in any all-time list. Julio Jones, Mark Ingram, and D’onta Hightower, among others, were key players from that class. Since then, Alabama has produced numerous #1 overall classes and signed some elite players; however, there seems to be a significant possibility that the class Alabama signs tomorrow, could be the best of the bunch.
It all starts with the head coach.
“Saban’s influence on the program starts with recruiting and player development,” said Chase Goodbread, the Alabama beat writer for Rivals.com, TideSports.com, and the Tuscaloosa News. “The talent he brings in from the high school level is enormous, and he knows how to make those players even better year after year.”
In large part because of Saban’s recruiting acumen and that ability to develop players into future stars at the next level. Andrew Bone, Senior Recruiting Analyst for TideSports.com and Rivals.com added that “the key to success definitely starts with winning.” And, once again, recruits are lining up to be a part of the program that has won three of the last four national titles.
The headliners for the Tide’s class as it stands are linebacker Reuben Foster (the Auburn tattooed prospect who just committed to the Tide yesterday), running back Derrick Henry, defensive end/linebacker Jonathan Allen, and tight end O.J. Howard.
Bone cited Henry, ranked #6 in the Breitbart25 as a player who “has a shot to go in and earn playing time with the early departure of Eddie Lacy to the NFL.” He also believes Allen is “physically one of the most impressive players in the country.”
In addition to Henry and Allen, the Tide have landed several future stars in Foster, Howard, running backs Tyren Jones and Altee Tenpenny, wide receiver Robert Foster, offensive lineman Grant Hill and numerous other elite prospects.
However, if indications are accurate, Alabama can expect an incredible close that will take their already elite class to new heights.
The Tide are currently heavily in the mix for running back Alvin Kamara, offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil, defensive linemen Eddie Vanderdoes, Dee Liner, Henry Poggi, A’Shawn Richardson, and Montravious Adams, as well as safeties Vonn Bell and Antonio Connor as well as other solid prospects. According to Rivals.com, Tunsil,
Vanderdoes, Richardson, Adams, and Bell are five-star prospects.
Looking ahead to tomorrow, I look for Alabama to pick up Kamara, Liner, Richardson, and likely Connor, and I would not rule them out for making a run at some of the other elite prospects listed either.
If Alabama can compile that level of talent, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where this dynasty ends any time soon. The prognosis of Goodbread, who says that “Alabama will have as many or more question marks entering 2013 as it did 2012” and goes on to cite the difficult schedule which notably includes an away game against the “Johnny Football”-led Aggies, may be sobering for title hungry fans. But with this coach and this much talent, the Tide will continue to roll.
I expect Alabama to finish with their third straight Recruiting National Championship tomorrow, and, I believe they have to be considered the frontrunners for a three-peat BCS National Championship as well, and, just as in 2008, it will be a dominant recruiting class that leads the way for the Tide for years to come.