The Alabama coach didn't exactly agree with the quarterback he started in 40 consecutive games and developed a father-son type relationship with off the field. Nick Saban discusses 2014 recruiting class Head coach Nick Saban talks about Alabama's 2014 recruiting class, ranked #1 by all major recruiting services.
"I don't think it was an issue on the field because none of those guys were out there playing," Saban said Wednesday. "I think if it was an issue out there for any of our players who where playing, they need to check their maturity level because the guys that were out there playing did not have that issue."
Oh, snap. Unless I'm misreading this, it pretty clearly translates to "Son, kindly shut your mouth." While I am of the opinion that entitlement wasn't a driving factor in the last two losses, I wouldn't say they were a non-factor regarding on-field performance. After all, if not for that sentiment (to the extent that it existed) we would have at least had some more quality depth, if not more participation from true difference makers.
No. 1: Alabama Rundown: The class wasn’t just No. 1 overall, it was No. 1 by a mile. Alabama cleaned up with one-third of all the five-star prospects in the ESPN 300, the highest ranking of which was offensive tackle Cameron Robinson, who could challenge for immediate playing time as a freshman. Along those lines, coach Nick Saban and his staff didn’t just sign the best prospects, they signed those that fit the program’s needs. The offensive line class could be the best in Saban’s history, the cornerback class promises two future stars and quarterback David Cornwell helps expand the field of candidates to replace AJ McCarron.
Needs filled: It was obvious Alabama needed help at cornerback, and the Crimson Tide went out and got two of the best in the country in five-star prospects Tony Brown and Marlon Humphrey. Pass rushers were also a priority, which makes five-star defensive end Da'Shawn Hand and four-star outside linebackers Rashaan Evans and Christian Miller key pickups. Cameron Robinson, yet another five-star prospect, could end up starting at left tackle next season on the offensive line.
Holes remaining: The Crimson Tide could have used another marquee receiver and lost out on No. 1 wideout Malachi Dupre to LSU. With Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Vinnie Sunseri both heading early to the NFL, the Tide also might have come up short at safety.
It seems the formula here was to simply pick one of the few spots where the Tide didn't sign a 5 star recruit and call that a miss. In all honesty, Malachi Dupre was probably the closest thing to a miss this recruiting class, but despite constant pursuit, Bama was really never seriously in the conversation to land his signature. That being said, I definitely wouldn't call the wideout position a "hole" in our roster. We lost a couple solid guys in Kenny Bell and Kevin Norwood , and while both of those guys played their role well (particularly Norwood, who was a fantastic possession receiver), neither was a "marquee receiver", and we should be fine at that position moving forward.
Safety is one of the biggest question marks the team has going into next season, but we weren't going to land a guy in this crop that would be able to immediately fill in there. The answer to that question is already on the team, or nowhere at all.
The biggest surprise of Signing Day was that there really were no major surprises or soap operas. The biggest curveball came from Rashaan Evans. The five-star LB, who lives right in Auburn's backyard, picked Alabama instead of the Tigers. Evans capped off a spectacular recruiting Tide class.
To kick off our Signing Day Live show we got some help from former USC coach Ed Orgeron who was a multiple time National Recruiter of the Year. Orgeron provided CBSSports.com with his analysis of the 2014 class and he, like everyone else, was wowed by the talent Nick Saban signed. The long-time D-line coach had several Crimson Tide recruits rated as his top overall prospect at their position, starting with his best O-lineman: Cam Robinson: "6-6, 320. He has great hips, great feet," said Orgeron. "He comes off the ball with a flat back and is a dominant drive blocker. I think he's gonna have to work on his pass protection but I know Alabama will get that done."
Really excited to see big Cam Robinson in action this spring. The competition for left tackle between him and JUCO transfer Dominick Jackson should be a great battle.
Alabama's surprise signee from Wednesday came from the heart of the rival to the east. Rashaan Evans, sitting in the packed gym of Auburn High School on national television pulled out a crimson hat with a script A. There was predictable backlash.
"We had lots of conversations with his family, because they were concerned about their circumstance of being where they were and the decision they were going to make and how people would to react to it," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "I said, 'however many people you think you're not going to make happy there you're going to make a lot more people happy here, and that's exactly what happened."
"We just pretty much talked about staying on the right track," Pettway said. "I guess he knew I had been through a lot or whatever and just wanted to make sure I was ready this time or I was focused enough to come back." Through it all, Pettway said the lessons of the past year were numerous.
"I learned how to be more courageous, "Pettway said. "If I see anything or if I'm around anything bad happening around me, I'm willing to stop it or step forward. I'm willing to be the man that makes a change. I'm willing to help anyone around here — any of my teammates. I learned just to be more positive, be more grateful."
Pettway was one of four Alabama players involved in the assaults and robberies last February, but the only to return to Alabama. The university released a statement in December saying he could re-enroll after being suspended for his involvement in the crime. The courts granted him youthful offender status and the details of the case were sealed.