A mixed bag of emotions entered the Twitter world on Wednesday as for the first time since 2010, the University of Alabama didn’t finish with the No. 1 class on National Signing Day.
Much of Georgia’s success under Kirby Smart came from Alabama’s coaching turnover, following a national championship. Losing Brian Daboll, Jeremy Pruitt and Derrick Ansley among others, caused multiple recruits that the Crimson Tide thought it had locked down to make a sudden change.
Regardless of getting a fresh group of young, ace recruiters to Tuscaloosa, Alabama had to adjust on the move yet it was able to salvage a top-10 finish.
“We were pleased with the guys we were able to attract,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said in his opening statement to the press after signing day. “We solved a lot of needs, because we had to recruit by needs.”
Even with the early signing period, the Tide was able to land five defensive backs – Jalyn Armour-Davis, Saivion Smith, Josh Jobe, Patrick Surtain and Eddie Smith – and some key pieces on the defensive line to replace individuals that are entering the upcoming NFL Draft.
One of the biggest misconceptions in recruiting is quantity over quality. As opposed to Alabama, Georgia signed 26 commits with seven being five-star talents. Taking Saban’s age, 66, into account and this new form of social media presence in recruiting, a lot of negative talk was probably used in trying to sway young athletes from committing to the Tide and its process.
Despite the drama and concerns on if this class was mishandled, the six-time national champion of college football is about landing competitors and guys with character.
“Every player that we have here was told at some point in time in recruiting that they could not play here and that they could play faster somewhere else,” Saban said.
“We attract the guys that are good competitors that want to see if they can meet the standard of playing here with a lot of expectations, a great tradition, having a chance to play in big games and at the end of the day, we are better off with those kinds of competitors and that’s worked out really well for us.”
One statistic that cannot be overstated is every signing class at Alabama since 2008 has earned at least one national title.
For this year’s group, the message is simple: buy into the work ethic placed in front of you and find different ways to make an impact. With spring practice and the annual A-Day Game inching closer, Tide fans will be on edge to see a new wave of stars.