As Alabama’s stellar 2017 recruiting class continues to grow, it only adds to the legacy of great classes under Nick Saban. Five-star players like Najee Harris and Dylan Moses have an opportunity to cement their already storied careers by showcasing their five-star talents in Bryant-Denny Stadium. But, to be an all-time great recruit, one doesn’t need to necessarily perform amazingly. Some five-stars don’t live up to the hype, but the fact that Alabama has courted so many five-stars shows the respect the program has. Let’s take a look at the top five all-time recruits Alabama has landed.
Honorable Mentions: Bo Scarbrough, Blake Barnett, Tony Brown, Amari Cooper, Jalen Hurts, Landon Collins, HaHa Clinton-Dix
5. OJ Howard, 5-Star Tight End, Class of 2013, (Prattville, Ala.): Howard was the nation’s 19th best player in 2013. He was supposed to be the next big thing at tight end, and he showcased his five-star talent in the national championship game against Clemson. But, Howard’s career has been less than spectacular. True football fans will understand that he has a role, and NFL draft analysts love his ability. He’s set to be the top pick for tight ends in the 2017 draft. It was big news when Saban and his staff landed the Alabama native. He’s easily the most highly touted tight end prospect of all time.
4. Trent Richardson, 5-Star RB, Class of 2009 (Pensacola, FL): He was the nation’s No. 2 running back, and sixth best player back in 2009. Richardson came into Alabama and did an excellent job at helping replace Heisman winner, Mark Ingram. In college, Trent was unstoppable. He was a weight room monster, and part of a highly praised backfield. Despite some hiccups and tough times in the NFL, Tide fans should still root for Richardson. Hopefully, he’ll get his NFL career back on track. His time is ticking.
3. Dee Milliner, 5-Star CB, Class of 2010 (Millbrook, AL): Milliner was one of the first “big” corners to get recruited (6’1″). Now, it seems like all the top corners in the nation are between 6’0″-6’3″. He was a freak, who could run with any receiver. He started at corner as a freshman at Millbrook, playing 6A football. He was an Under Armour All-American, and a USA Today All-American, as well as a unanimous collegiate all-American. He didn’t pan out in the NFL, thanks in part to injuries.
2. Derrick Henry, 5-Star RB, Class of 2013 (Yulee, FL): Coming out of high school, Henry was a 6-foot-3, 240 pound beast of a back. He finished his high school career with the all-time rushing record (12,124 yards). He also had 153 touchdowns. Originally, Henry was committed to Georgia, but chose Alabama. It paid off big time. Henry had a legendary career, which he capped off with a Heisman trophy. Henry is now a rookie with the Tennesee Titans, and is looking to bring his talent to a new level.
1. Julio Jones, 5-Star WR, Class of 2008 (Foley, AL): Before we rave about Jones, lets look at his recruiting class: Dont’a Hightower, Marcell Dareus, Courtney Upshaw, Mark Ingram … just to name a few. Wow. As for Jones, I don’t think there has ever been such a polished wide receiver prospect. He was a 6-foot-4, 220 pound star. Every school in the country wanted Jones, and Bama was lucky enough to land him. He registered a freakish 38.6 inch vertical jump as a high schooler, and a 4.55 40-yard-dash. He went on to be named the SEC Freshman of The Year. As for his NFL career, well we all know how that is going.