After much hand-wringing through January, the Crimson Tide quelled the fears of their fans with yet another top rated recruiting class. Anchored by 5-stars Ben Davis, Lyndell "Mack" Wilson, Jonah Williams, the nation's top running back B.J. Emmons, and the #2 juco player Charles Baldwin.
When it comes to recruiting coverage, there are four who cover it the best. They are 247sports, Rivals, Scout, and in a distant fourth ESPN. I am not just saying ESPN is "distant" because they picked Alabama second behind Florida State. They truly do trail the other three when it comes to insight. But they are the almighty four-letter network, so they do deserve some credit.
National Ranking Average:
The chart below is based on the Team Rankings for the Big 4 in recruiting services. The 247sports is their rankings, and not the composite rankings they compile whose exact algorithm and sources are not completely divulged. So, back to the basics: (a+b+c+d)/4.
|77||San Diego State||90||65||65||999||304.75|
(ESPN only does the top 75. Rivals only goes up to 100. Therefore, for teams that did not make their lists, I gave them a value of 999, just because.)
FLORIDA STATE - As much as things change, the more they stay the same. Despite a "down" year by their standards, the 'Noles still dominated the ACC and put together a good solid class. FSU pulled in recruits from nine states and Washington DC but missed out on several in-state players. They got one 5-star in Levonta Taylor, the only cornerback to unanimously earn that many stars.
CLEMSON - The Tigers did pretty good but not as good as you might expect from this past season's runner-up and favorite for next season. 5-star DT Dexter Lawrence was their big catch.
OHIO STATE - The Buckeyes had a pretty quiet but successful NSD having the class basically sewn up before the crack of dawn on Wednesday.
MICHIGAN - Jim Harbaugh's antics were enough to
trick convince recruits from 13 different states to sign but only three from Michigan. There is something to be said for players who are unfamiliar with each other. It will be interesting to see if he can get them to coalesce.
BIG TEN - Aside from Ohio State and Michigan, the rest of the conference was pretty lacking. If they are not careful, the B1G could fall into that ACC hole of two up top with a bunch of Participation Award recipients.
TEXAS finished strong as always but will it translate to the field?
OKLAHOMA - Wow, what happened here? The Sooners got some good players up top but the back end hurt them.
USC - Despite another coaching change, the University of South Central L.A. still got a good haul.
OREGON - Not a great class for the Ducks. You have to wonder if the sheen of too many failed season endings is starting to effect recruiting.
POWER 5 DOGS
#71 Kansas State, BIG XII
#72 Rutgers, B1G
#74 Boston College, ACC
#75 Purdue, B1G - 247 ranked them #96 while ESPN had them at #61.
#76 Colorado, PAC - The Buffs shared the MNC back in 1990.
#89 Kansas, B1G - Eight years ago, this team was playing in the Orange Bowl
Eight teams in the top 20 and half of the top ten.
LSU - A great class but where is the quarterback? After months of scrambling and being left at the altar, Les Miles settled for 5'11" barely 3-star Lindsey Scott who chose the Tigers over Rutgers and Tulane.
Ole Miss - Another good class for the Rebs but they missed out on three of the state's top five (Jeffery Simmons, Nigel Knott, Raekwon Davis).
Georgia - You've learned well young Jedi. Kirby Smart has one of the best UGA classes in many many moons. Bama fans have to be a little concerned about the fence he is erecting around the Peach State.
Auburn - A disappointing class was saved by Derrick Brown's last minute decision and WR Nate Craig-Myers.
Florida - Gators lost a few players to flips on NSD but hung on to QB-of-the-future Feleipe Franks.
Tennessee - The Vols made some headlines but the back end is not so great.
Texas A&M - Alumni have to be fuming after Tejas stole the spotlight on NSD.
South Carolina - Honestly, this is not a bad class for the crater Steve Spurrier left behind. 4-star QB Brandon McIlwain is a good start.
Arkansas - An okay class for Bert but he is not getting them to the top of the heap anytime soon. He could've used another running back and some more OL help.
Kentucky - bounce-bounce-bounce-bounce-bounce-bounce-DUNK! Hooray!
Mississippi State - Despite landing 5-star Jeffery Simmons, the Bullies were outdistanced by many. Dan Mullen committed a cardinal sin by not signing a quarterback.
Missouri - This is why Gary Pinkel retired. Expect some dark days ahead for Mizzou.
Vanderbilt - Vandy's gonna Vandy.
Alabama by Position:
All Purpose Back
Weak-Side Defensive End
Strong-Side Defensive End
Kicker (preferred walk-on)
Long Snapper(preferred walk-on)
* The safeties refer to Trevon Diggs and Shawn Jennings who are listed as Athletes but most likely end up at safety.
Alabama by State:
District Of Columbia (1)
North Carolina (1)
Alabama had four 3-star recruits decommit this past week. In case you are curious as to where they landed:
Riley Cole LB South Alabama
Joshua Perry S Memphis
Brendan Scales TE Mizzou
Tyler Simmons WR Georgia (see below)
This is going to sound awfully Gumpy, but three of the lowest rated pick-ups from Wednesday may be the most underrated.
Joshua Jacobs (McLain HS, Tulsa, OK) APB 5-10/200 - A few months ago, this running back was only getting looks from New Mexico State and Wyoming. He didn't even have the attention of home state schools Oklahoma, Okie State, or even Tulsa. My guess is his coach did not know how to promote his players. For more, read this good article from the Tulsa World.
Jamar King (Mendocino CC, Ukiah, CA) SDE 6-5/285 - This lineman has been overlooked for years. Originally from Detroit, he got no offers out of high school and landed at this middle-of-nowhere northern California juco where he grew into himself. King also played for his juco's basketball team.
Aaron Robinson (Deerfield Beach HS, Deerfield Beach, FL) CB 6-1/178 - This flip from Florida took all of us at RBR by surprise. The Tide staff loves this kid's talent and believe he could be the steal of this class, much like like Eddie Jackson was three years ago. The story of his offer can be read below.
What Could've/Should've Been
It is hard to be upset with what Nick Saban did on NSD. If you listened to his press conference, he was happy but you can tell that it wasn't perfect (at least by Saban's definition). He mentioned that they were hoping to get another "edge rusher" defensive end and another wide receiver. As you know, Saban rarely lets details that he can control go bad. He has no control of people who are less than honest with him. I believe I can fill in some blanks.
The following narrative is unsubstantiated but came from a good source and makes some sense.
The defensive end Bama missed out on was 5-star DE Jeffrey Simmons who made the surprise commit of the day to Mississippi State. Coming into the day, it was thought to be a tight race between Ole Miss and Alabama. The story goes that Simmons gave a silent commit to Alabama about two weeks ago and he even told the Tide staff early Wednesday morning that he would be signing with Bama. Because of this, the Alabama staff turned their attention elsewhere and missed out on someone else who could have replaced him.
The second part of this involves 3-star WR Tyler Simmons who committed to Alabama back in early January. However, he started looking around, listening to overtures from Kirby Smart, taking an official visit to Miami, etc. The Tide staff was not happy with these activities but Simmons convinced them he was still committed to Alabama. He even went as far as telling Nick Saban on NSD eve that he would be signing with the Tide. And then he flipped to Georgia.
You may be thinking that the Crimson Tide is better off without guys who do this sort of thing. However, the real damage is that Alabama misses out on other recruits who they had to back off on. However, the Tide made a great recovery in grabbing Aaron Robinson almost as soon as Simmons teeter-tottered over.
Bama is still missing that second wide receiver that they had wanted. As you may know, 5-star WR Demetris Robinson did not sign on Wednesday and may take a visit to Alabama. If Saban can convinced him to make the trip, you have to like his chances with the top ten player. All of this is depending on whether there is a scholarship waiting for him.
Also of interest, 3-star DE Sci Martin, who took an OV to Tuscaloosa on Jan. 15, has not signed anywhere either. He was committed to TCU and has considered LSU and Oklahoma as well as Alabama.
Quote of the Day:
"Florida is kind of the new Ole Miss. They're doing some things in recruiting that just kind of shocks you a little bit."
Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema made this quip during a live interview with ESPN. While most people took these comments as a shot at both Florida and Ole Miss, Bielema later insists that he was complimenting both schools.
Key & Peele All-Stars
• RB Lil'Jordan Humphrey, Texas - This gives us hope that there could be a recruit named Lil'Penny after the Nike Penny Hardaway commercials of the 1990s.
• WR Ralphlauren McCauley, undecided ...