Last month's commitment by quarterback Jalen Hurts to Alabama triggered a pair of interesting storylines. One is the future of Alabama offenses. The other is the recruiting dominoes that were toppled.
Nick Saban has long been a traditionalist when it comes to running offenses. However, he is never one to dismiss trends and neglect adapting. His recent recruiting of undervalued safety/linebacker hybrids is a good example. But another more significant philosophy shift is one of embracing a more mobile quarterback rather than the big-armed statues that have worked so well in past seasons.
For the second straight year, Alabama has secured the pledge of a dual-threat quarterback over one of the pro-style. This is a seismic shift for Saban.
|2016||Jalen Hurts||Dual||4 stars|
|2015||Blake Barnett||Dual||4 stars|
|2014||David Cornwell||Pro-style||4 stars|
|2013||Cooper Bateman||Pro-style||4 stars|
|2013||Parker McLeod||Pro-style||3 stars|
|2012||Alec Morris||Pro-style||3 stars|
|2011||Phillip Ely||Pro-style||3 stars|
|2010||Phillip Sims||Pro-style||4 stars|
|2009||AJ McCarron||Pro-style||4 stars|
|2008||Star Jackson||Pro-style||4 stars|
Despite the result of the final game of the 2014 season, it appears that the Lane Kiffin offense is the way Saban wants to proceed going forward (but maybe with a little more running sprinkled in, eh Kiff?). Some in the national press have speculated that the Bama offensive coordinator could leave Tuscaloosa for a head coaching job after the coming season or for sure after 2016. Either Saban believes Kiffin will be around for awhile to develop these young dual-threat QBs or he has a contingency plan to keep the offense with someone else in charge. It is too soon to speculate who the next OC will be but Kiffin will certainly have plenty of offers come December.
But the question remains: might he stick around? The national press have been saying for years that DC Kirby Smart will be moving on soon. Yet here he is in Year Nine at the Capstone. Surely, Kiffin will stick around at least until his Southern Cal buyout runs out. Any why not? His career and reputation has essentially been rejuvenated. The pressure of being a head coach is off. He is learning from one of the best. Even the Tide Nation has warmed to him.
A PASS ON PASS?
As mentioned, Hurts is the second consecutive dual-threat QB to commit to the Tide. Another dual QB Woody Barrett has committed to Auburn and Georgia is going with a pro-style and the nation's number one rated signal caller Jacob Eason. What does this mean for 4-star Jawon Pass?
Jawon Pass of Carver (Columbus, GA) was once believed to be the top target of both Alabama and Auburn. However with most of the schools in closest proximity to his hometown getting pledges from other prospects, and other schools filling their QB quota, one has to wonder if there is a flaw on Pass or maybe he just waited too long to decide.
The Elite 11 QB competition starts today at the Nike HQ. Out of the 18 QBs competing, only Pass and Dillon Sterling-Cole (Houston, TX) are not committed. SBNation will have boots on the ground in Beaverton, Oregon. We are hoping recruiting guru Bud Elliott can supply some insight.
|Dillon Sterling-Cole||Westfield||Houston, TX||ASU, UF, A&M|
|Jawon Pass||Carver||Columbus, GA||Lou, Bama, Aub, UNC|
|Malik Henry||IMG Academy||Bradenton, FL||FSU commit|
|Jacob Eason||Lake Stevens||Lake Stevens, WA||Georgia commit|
|Feleipe' Franks||Wakulla||Crawfordville, FL||LSU commit|
|Dwayne Haskins||The Bullis School||Potomac, MD||Maryland commit|
|Brandon Peters||Avon||Avon, IN||Michigan commit|
|Messiah deWeaver*||Wayne||Huber Heights, OH||Michigan State commit|
|Patrick O'Brien||San Juan Hills||San Juan Capistrano, CA||Nebraska commit|
|Nick Starkel||Liberty Christian||Argyle, TX||Oklahoma State commit|
|Shea Patterson||Calvary Baptist||Shreveport, LA||Ole Miss commit|
|Jake Zembiec||Aquinas Institute||Rochester, NY||Penn State commit|
|Anthony Russo||Archbishop Wood||Warminster, PA||Rutgers commit|
|Brandon McIlwain||Council Rock North||Newtown, PA||South Carolina commit|
|K.J. Costello||Santa Margarita||Rancho Santa Margarita, CA||Stanford commit|
|Jarrett Guarantano||Bergen Catholic||Oradell, NJ||Tennessee commit|
|Shane Buechele||Arlington Lamar||Arlington, TX||Texas commit|
|Jett Duffey||Lake Ridge||Mansfield, TX||Texas Tech commit|
* Yes, that guy's name is "Messiah" and will likely make a Key & Peele All-Star team someday. His momz clearly has higher expectations for her son than Lawyer Milloy's momz did for her son.
The days of waiting around until National Signing Day to make a big press conference hat-switcheroo announcement are going by the wayside. Too many coaches got left at the altar because a kid wanted to "shock the world". No position is this more true for than quarterback. The best and brightest are making their decisions earlier then in the past. Since most schools only take one QB per class, it causes a domino effect. As soon as one kid make a choice, it starts a mad scramble.
Below is a list of Rivals top rated 2016 field generals sorted by date of commitment. You can see the patterns.
|Malik Henry||6.1||Florida State||11/13/14||DUAL|
|Jake Zembiec||5.8||Penn State||11/29/14||PRO|
|Brandon McIlwain||5.7||South Carolina||12/31/14||DUAL|
|Shea Patterson||6.1||Ole Miss||02/17/15||DUAL|
|Logan Byrd||5.8||North Carolina||04/08/15||DUAL|
|Tristen Wallace||5.7||Ohio State||04/15/15||DUAL|
|Nick Starkel||5.7||Oklahoma State||04/16/15||PRO|
|Messiah deWeaver||5.8||Michigan State||04/22/15||PRO|
|Skylar Thompson||5.8||Kansas State||05/09/15||DUAL|
|Dwayne Haskins Jr.||5.9||Maryland||05/15/15||PRO|
|Chazz Surratt||5.8||North Carolina||06/26/15||DUAL|
Apparently, Pass has Alabama, Auburn, Louisville, and UNC on his short list. However as you can see above, they all already have QB commits to date. Would any of these schools take a second QB in 2016? This could leave a guy like Pass stuck going to a "lesser" team.