When the 2015 season kicks off, every player on the Alabama Crimson Tide roster will be part of a #1 nationally ranked class. The 2015 class has been signed, sealed and delivered and, once again, the Tide reigns supreme. This class directly meets the needs for Saban and company, and boasts a plethora of talent on both sides of the ball. The position grades for the 2015 class are now in:
QUARTERBACKS – A
Barnett alone gives this quarterback class a solid A grade. He is the most talented quarterback prospect recruited under Saban at Alabama. He could push for playing time as early as this season. He has size, a great arm, and is shifty with his feet. Saban landed his quarterback of the future in Barnett.
RUNNING BACKS – A+
Damien Harris; Desherrius Flowers; Bo Scarborough
All three backs are powerful and explosive. Harris is the big name, but Flowers could end up being a complete college back in his own right. Flowers is more of a workhorse, and Harris is more of a total package elite superstar. With Bo Scarborough finally enrolling (using a spot in the 2015 class), this RB class is borderline ridiculous. Landing Harris, the top RB in the nation, would probably give his position an A by itself, but add in Flowers and Scarborough, and it’s a no brainer.
WIDE RECEIVERS – A
Calvin Ridley; Daylon Charlot
Getting Daylon Charlot on Signing Day really boosted this WR class from a B to an A. 5-star Calvin Ridley is a next level star-in-the-making, and could step in and immediately play. But without the addition of Charlot, Alabama would have only signed one receiver. Charlot is a vertical threat and also a terror in the return game. Both names have the ability to become household names very early on in their careers.
TIGHT ENDS – B-
Hentges is a solid, exceptional athlete at the tight end position. He has great hands, and should develop into a vintage Saban tight end. This position group receives a B grade because Hentges is not an elite TE and he is the lone tight end Alabama signed.
OFFENSIVE LINE – A-
Lester Cotton; Brandon Kennedy; Richie Petitbon; Dallas Warmack; Matt Womack
Clearly a direct focus of the 2015 class, the offensive line is a very good group of young talent. Cotton, Petitbon, and Warmack are three of the best guards in the nation. All three are extremely physical, excelling in run blocking. Brandon Kennedy is a highly rated center, and Matt Womack is an underrated lineman that projects at right tackle. The missing piece here is a future left tackle. The decommitment of Isaiah Prince really hurt this position group and took it from an A+ to an A-.
DEFENSIVE TACKLES – A
Daron Payne; Jonathan Taylor
Payne was one of the biggest names Alabama added to the 2015 class. He is a disruptive interior defensive lineman that should thrive on the Crimson Tide defense. Getting Payne was a necessity. Adding JUCO transfer Jonathan Taylor increases the depth at an already very deep position group. Taylor could step right in and play, much like Jarran Reed did last year. The decommitment of TD Moton hurt, but this position group still gets a strong A.
DEFENSIVE ENDS – B
Christian Bell; Mekhi Brown; Anfernee Jennings
While this position group wasn’t able to close on CeCe Jefferson, it is still a group of talented players. The big name of recent years is not here, but don’t sleep on these three. Brown and Jennings have tremendous upside to become big time pass rushers. And Bell is a classic 3-star sleeper. Good group, not a great group.
LINEBACKERS – B+
Keaton Anderson; Joshua McMillon; Adonis Thomas
Adonis Thomas was a key to giving this group an A- grade. Thomas could end up being a jack linebacker at Alabama because of his experience of having his hand in the dirt. Thomas is not the normal linebacker Saban recruits, but his presence on the edge should be fun to watch. McMillon is the classic, run-stuffing inside linebacker Alabama fans have become accustomed to. And Keaton Anderson is a stud in the making, although he is not the biggest player.
CORNERBACKS – A+
Minkah Fitzpatrick; Kendall Sheffield
Signing two of the nations top cornerbacks will solidify an A+ grade. The second straight year Alabama has signed two 5-star corners. Fitz and Sheff will join Marlon Humphrey and Tony Brown as 5-star defensive backs. Both have amazingly high ceilings and, while they will have to wait their turn, could become islands at that position down the road.
SAFETIES – A
Shawn Burgess-Becker; Ronnie Harrison; Deionte Thompson
Another position area that had the complete attention from Saban was the backend of the secondary. With Landon Collins and Nick Perry – both 2014 starters – both gone, the spots are up grabs. Thompson and Harrison are both already enrolled and don’t be surprised to see them pushing for playing time as true freshmen. Burgess-Becker is a great athlete that seems to project as a safety in college as well. Even with losing Rico McGraw, this safety class is great.