The 2008 signing class turned the Tide

The bulk of Alabama’s 2008 signing class is gone, but a few key contributors remain.

Center Barrett Jones, tight end Michael Williams, defensive end Damion Square and safety Robert Lester are the four holdovers, and they have a chance to do something that no other class in SEC history has done.

Win three outright national championships.

Jones, Williams, Square and Lester will be among the nine Alabama seniors saying farewell to Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday against Auburn in the Iron Bowl. They came in as part of the 2008 class, but all four redshirted that first season.

It’s a class that also included the likes of Julio Jones, Mark Barron, Mark Ingram, Marcell Dareus, Dont’a Hightower and Courtney Upshaw.

Alabama coach Nick Saban didn’t hold back Wednesday when asked what that class has meant to the program.

“It’s probably the best recruiting class I’ve ever been associated with or a part of assembling,” Saban said. “The evaluation was good, and the development of the players was really good. Lot of good people in that class.

“Obviously, the amount of success they’ve had indicates the competitive character they have and the kind of people they are as well as their ability.”

Going back to their redshirt freshman season in 2009, Jones, Williams, Square and Lester are 46-5 with two national championships and a third victory in the Capital One Bowl.

“(The 2008 class) was the key to getting things turned around here,” Saban said.