Recruiting rewind: Alabama

Alabama Crimson Tide

The class

Recruits: 29 (27 high school players, 10 who enrolled early, and two junior college players, one enrolled early).

Top prospects: The Crimson Tide were second to Florida in the SEC with nine ESPNU 150 prospects. DeMarcus Milliner is the No. 2 cornerback prospect in the country, and he’s already on campus. Phillip Sims is the No. 1 quarterback, and he’s also enrolled in school. Alfy Hill and Adrian Hubbard are two of the top 6 defensive end prospects in the country, and Chad Lindsay is the top offensive guard prospect nationally.

Sleepers: The Crimson Tide offered 330-pound defensive tackle Brandon Ivory late, stealing him away from Memphis. Ivory figures to play the same role as Terrence Cody at nose guard. Jalston Fowler is another guy to watch. He was a running back in high school, but already weighing 230 pounds, may grow into a fullback or tight end at Alabama.

Needs met: Alabama lost three starters in the secondary, which makes junior college signee DeQuan Menzie and Milliner key additions. Both will compete for starting jobs at cornerback and possibly the star position, Alabama’s version of the nickel. Typical of a Nick Saban class, Alabama loaded up on defensive linemen. There are six in this class. The Crimson Tide also picked up both a kicker and punter. Where they fell a little short was at receiver. Julio Jones is likely gone to the NFL after next season. That’s where losing Keenan Allen hurts.

Analysis: Keep in mind that three of the 29 players listed are “grayshirts” from last year who enrolled early. The fact that 11 players are already on campus puts them ahead of the game with the added benefit of spring practice. This is three straight top 3 classes now for Saban, who has recruiting down to a science. He’s built a great recruiting program at Alabama much the same way he did at LSU. Saban is never going to come up short in the secondary, so it’s not surprising to see this class include two of the top four cornerback prospects in the country in John Fulton and Milliner as well as Menzie, one of the top junior college defensive backs in the country. It’s difficult to predict a second straight national title for the Tide, but you can bet that they’re going to be competing for titles every year with this kind of talent flowing in on an annual basis.

Scouts Inc. grade: A

What Nick Saban said:

"Because of the situation, we had to recruit more by need in this recruiting class than ever before. We feel good about the way things worked out for us and the guys we got."

"We’re very pleased because we have a unique circumstance in this class where we have 11 players – seven new players, one junior college transfer, three holdovers from a year ago and a transfer from another school – that are all here at mid-semester who are going to be a part of our team. They’re going to be here for spring practice. They’re going to be here for the offseason program, and that’s going to enhance their development."

"You guys know that I’m not really much into the ratings and really don’t even know how we are rated and really don’t much care how we’re rated. Every year I try to come up with some analogy to sort of put in perspective how you should rate recruiting classes. If we went out to buy a hunting dog and it was a puppy, we would buy it based on its potential, its lineage or whatever you want to call it in terms of breeding, and we would know probably when that dog grew up whether it was a good hunting dog or not. We’d never know until we put him out in the field and saw him actually go hunting, but we would buy it without knowing for sure what that result would be."