And the Beat Goes On….
By: Larry Burton
“Hey, did you hear? Alabama is having a great bunch of recruits lining up for the next signing day!” someone may say.
Yawn… “Yeah, so what? Don’t they have one every year?” you might very well answer.
Yes, as far as recruiting goes, the old Sonny and Cher song always pops into my head, “And the Beat Goes On”. It would only be news if Nick Saban and Alabama weren’t competing for the number one spot in recruiting.
But that doesn’t mean that just as championships and number one recruiting classes continue to fall into Tuscaloosa, that fans shouldn’t continue to keep an ear perked to who Alabama is bringing in as well as understanding the importance and impact that some of these players could make.
Alabama has won three titles with quarterbacks who were for all accounts, not the kind of names that drew national attention or acclaim. That’s not to say that Greg McElroy and AJ McCarron aren’t good quarterbacks, in fact, they proved quite the contrary. But by all accounts, they aren’t top flight quarterbacks that the NFL will sit and drool over wanting to get either.
As impressive as Nick Saban’s resume has been heretofore, until now, he has not landed the nation’s number one signal caller or had one start a game.
Too much has been made of Alabama only needing a “Game Manager” at quarterback and while McElroy and McCarron have both been able to win games with their arms, doing it on a consistent basis has been an entirely different thing. Each has had disappointing games and losses that could be laid at their feet.
But all that may quickly change with the commitment of Saban’s first number one quarterback, David Cornwell, a player that may not be a true game maker, but a possible first round NFL pick some day. Some say Cornwell may well end his high school career as the nation’s top quarterback pick, but that’s always debatable. However all agree his 6’5″, 235 pound will only get bigger, his cannon arm will only get stronger and his playmaking ability will only get better.
In short, there’s no ceiling in sight for just how high his skill sets may take him.
He’s already seen as the nation’s number one pro style quarterback and until lighting strikes Nick Saban, that’s the offense you can expect to see in the famous Crimson uniforms. He not only has touch, depth, smarts and foot skills like a pro, but his huge frame is going to make it a nightmare for a blitzing corner or safety to try and bring down. Think Ben Roethlisberger body with Tom Brady accuracy and Brett Farve arm.
Let’s put this in perspective for a minute. Greg McElroy was a three star and just the 47th best player in his state, AJ McCarron was a four star and not in the top 100 in national ranking in his class. Furthermore, Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram was only the 16th best running back in his class, Eddie Lacy was the 13th best running back in his class and so on.
In upcoming classes at the University of Alabama, they may field a team with the top quarterback, the top running back, many of the top rated receivers and another nationally leading offensive line.
In other words, if you’re an Alabama fan and been happy with the last four to five year stretch, you may not have anything yet.
If Saban can take three star players like he’s been doing and turning them into world beaters, what will he do when he fields a team of five star athletes? What looked like great teams in the recent past may be remembered only as the good teams that got things started for the killer teams of the present.
Truly at Alabama for the foreseeable future, the beat goes on… and on…. and on…
Larry is an award winning writer whose work has appeared in almost every college football venue. Now he primarily writes for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. Follow Larry on Twitter at https://twitter.com/LBSportswriter