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Alabama Recruiting and its Evolution Over the Years

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With the conclusion of National Signing Day 2015, I thought now would be a good time to take a look back through all of Nick Saban's classes since 2008.

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In 2008, a young man from Foley, Alabama committed to play football for the Crimson Tide. Julio Jones was a 5-star receiver and considered the third-best recruit in the entire nation. Mr. Jones single-handedly kickstarted seven years of dominating recruiting at Alabama.

Since then, Nick Saban has signed a plethora of top notch recruits of all shapes and sizes, from Dee Hart to Terrence Cody. Many of these players went on to contribute to the legacy of the Crimson Tide, and have even found success professionally. Others, well, who knows. Remember when cornerback Alonzo Lawrence was going to be the core of the secondary for years to come?

So how would you like to impress all of your friends with your trivial knowledge of high school kids? Well, I have just the thing for you! A list. A list for the ages. With this in your hands, you can become the object of jealousy of all of your friends. I can assure you that every word will be completely factual and relevant to even your everyday life. And the best part of all? Call right now and it will be completely free of charge (just pay shipping and handling).

Without further ado, let the listing begin!

  • The highest ranked player to sign with Alabama is not actually Julio Jones... Cyrus Kouandjio holds that record coming in at #2 overall in his class.
  • Alternatively, (aside from the players assigned "no rating"), former tight end Brad Smelley was the lowest rated player in the Saban-era. He was the 943rd overall player, and the 46th best QUARTERBACK.
  • Excluding the 2014 and 2015 classes, 5 five-star players have never actually started a game for the Crimson Tide: Phillip Sims, B.J. Scott, Robert Foster, Eddie Williams, and Tyler Love.
  • Auburn has signed at least 34 new cows in that span of time.
  • The most common name for an Alabama signee is Brandon. The Brandon Posse consists of Moore, Kennedy, Lewis, Greene, Ivory, and Hill. All of the Brandons are offensive or defensive lineman.
  • More 5-star offensive tackles (4) have signed with the Tide than 4-stars (3)
  • The fastest recorded 40-yard dash was Tony Brown, who ran a 4.35.
  • Conversely, Alphonse Taylor has the slowest recorded 40 time with a blazing 5.84 second dash.
  • Alabama has signed the top player in the nation at every position except for safety and defensive tackle.
  • 2011 Safety Jabriel Washington is the lightest player to ever sign, checking in at a whopping 165 pounds.
  • As you'd expect, Terrence Cody was the heaviest, at 395 pounds.
  • For all of its accomplishments, the 2008 class had TWO five star players to never contribute to the team, B.J. Scott and Tyler Love.
  • Recruits tend to find the smell of corndogs turns them away from LSU
  • The 2014 class had the highest average ranking of players, while the 2009 class was the lowest.
  • The average Alabama football player is 6' 2½".
  • Alabama's 2013 and 2015 classes hold the tie for the most five star players in a single class with 6 each.
  • The fastest non-skill position player to sign with Alabama is 2015 linebacker Adonis Thomas, who ran a 4.47 forty yard-dash
  • The only cornerback from the 2011 class, Bradley Sylve, was recruited to be a receiver. Oddly enough, that was widely considered to be the main position of weakness on the 2014 Alabama team.
  • At 6'7", Cyrus Kouandjio and Brian Vogler were the two tallest Alabama players.
  • 23% of all the 5-stars signed by Nick Saban have been cornerbacks.
  • The average Alabama player is really good at football.
  • In his tenure, Nick Saban has signed the number one kicker, number one punter, and number one long snapper in the nation. The punter, Jay Williams, was beat out by a walk-on Cody Mandell.
  • The average Alabama football player weighs 239 pounds.
  • Only 35% of Nick Saban's recruits have come from the state of Alabama. However, 39% of his five star players are from AL.
  • The 2013, 2014, and 2015 classes are the three highest raked classes of Saban's tenure. And none of these players are currently older than a true junior.
  • Nick Saban has signed the top offensive tackle in the nation three times in 8 years.
  • Eddie Lacy ran a faster forty yard dash in high school than Julio Jones did.
  • At 226 pounds per athlete, the 2011 and 2013 classes were the two lightest classes, while the 2014 class was the heaviest at 251.
  • The 2014 class holds the record for the hardest-to-spell pair of names in J.C. Hassenauer and Ross Pierschbacher.
  • Ha Ha. Clinton-Dix (I'm really funny, guys)
  • The 2015 class has more five star players than three star players.
  • Phillip Ely is actually the fastest quarterback to have signed with Alabama. He ran a 4.57 forty time.
  • D.J. Fluker was a five star defensive lineman before switching to offense, and A'Shawn Robinson was a five star offensive lineman before switching to defense.
  • Players from 29 of the 50 States have come to play for Alabama. The states represented are AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, DC, FL, GA, IA, KS, KY, LA, MD, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, and WV.

Aside from all of the random facts, there are a couple of other things I would like to note. It recently became a minor headline during the Super Bowl that none of the starters on either team were former five-star recruits. There's become a sentiment lately that five-star players are overrated, and people point to players such as Russell Wilson and Marcus Mariota as validation that 2-3 star players are just as good.

However, over 75% of former five star players at Alabama have gone on to be drafted into the NFL, while well under 25% of all three star prospects have made it to the professionals. Sure, there are exceptions, but don't let the lesser teams' jealousy fool you. Five-star players are typically better.

The other note I have is that we as fans tend to think shortsightedly. We see a lack of depth in the team and want that position to be recruited that year. However, recruiting tends to work in 4 year increments. I mentioned earlier that the 2011 class only had one cornerback. Well, those players would have been seniors last year... a year in which the cornerbacks really struggled. A single class with a scarcity of a certain position can cause issues four years down the road.

Recruiting is and always will be an inexact science. That, however, does not mean in any way that it is pointless. It is a strong indicator of a program's current and future success.

If anyone has any questions or tidbits of information they want to know, just leave a comment.

2015 Recruiting National Champs, Y'all. Roll Tide.