Nick Saban biggest recruiting tool just got even better.
Nine of his first 10 recruiting classes at Alabama ranked in the top five nationally. The way each group has handled the National Football League is bringing more attention to the program. Per NFL.com, the 2017 NFL Pro Bowl roster was released on Tuesday. Of the 44 players listed, six hail from the University of Alabama.
All earned at least one national championship under Saban.
Julio Jones (Atlanta) and Amari Cooper (Oakland) both rank in the top 10 in receiving. Despite missing two games this season, Jones is atop the league in receiving yards with 1,235. He’s collected five touchdown receptions on 72 catches, while averaging 104.4 yards a game. Cooper is seventh in receiving yards (1,038) and has four scores on 74 catches. Aside from making his first Pro Bowl appearance, the second-year man has posted back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons and guided the Raiders to the playoffs for the first time since 2002.
Linebackers C.J. Mosley (Baltimore) and Dont’a Hightower (New England) both represent the American Football Conference. Mosley leads a Ravens front that is second in the league against the run (82.1 ypg), fifth in total defense (312.6 ypg) and fifth in scoring defense (18.2 ppg). He has 59 tackles, including four for loss and three interceptions through 14 games. Hightower captains a Patriots group that sits atop the NFL in scoring defense (16.6 ppg), while being 10th in total defense (336.0 ypg) and fourth against the run (87.9 ypg).
He chimes in with 64 total tackles, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble through 14 games.
Safeties Landon Collins (New York) and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (Green Bay) round out the Alabama alums in the secondary for the National Football Conference. Collins spearheads a Giants unit that looks to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2011, its last Super Bowl run. He leads the team in both tackles (108) and sacks (three), while his five interceptions tie him for second in the league. Collins dominated the month of November, collecting three picks. If the playoffs started today, Clinton-Dix and the Packers would have the second and final wildcard spot in the NFC. Like Collins, Clinton-Dix’s five interceptions tie him for second in the NFL.
He’s recorded 65 total tackles and has defended six passes with a forced fumble.
Tide fans will be able to watch these stars on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017 at 7 p.m. on ESPN.