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Early National Signing Day: A Wild Day of Alabama and National Recruiting

Amari Kight, Taulia Tagovailoa

The day began With a flip and a flip but it was the next big thing at Alabama who set the tempo for the day.


Despite the Crimson Tide already impressive list of commitments, many Alabama fans were still nervous and did not feel comfortable until all LOIs landed safely in the hands of the University of Alabama. However, every commit who was expected to sign Wednesday did so.

To those of you fretting and wringing your hands on ESP Day, Nick Saban had a message for you:

He’s got this.

Right now in laboratories across the world, scientists and mathematicians are furiously scurrying to figure out a way to come up with an appropriate number to use to rank the Tide’s class. Bama entered the Early Signing Period ranked as number one. 24 hours later that number does not seem high enough to truly rank how good this class is. Much to the chagrin of everyone, it’s going to get better in February.

Not only did the Crimson Tide restock their armory with some of the nation’s most talented athletes, but they filled positions of need. Consider this fact. Going off of 247sports’ Composite rankings, Alabama has three 5-stars, 22 4-stars, and only one 3-star. Oh, by the way... That one 3-star just happens to be the nation’s highest ranked kicker. Kickers, punters and long-snappers never get more than three stars. Below is 247sports Comp breakdown by stars of the top 20:

Rank Team 5 4 3
1 Alabama 3 22 1
2 Georgia 5 14 2
3 Texas A&M 2 12 11
4 LSU 3 10 8
5 Oregon 1 11 10
6 Oklahoma 2 12 8
7 Clemson 2 10 14
8 Michigan 1 15 11
9 Texas 0 13 9
10 Penn State 1 16 1
11 Auburn 1 10 6
12 Ohio State 3 8 5
13 Notre Dame 0 15 6
14 Florida State 1 9 9
15 Washington 0 12 9
16 Florida 0 13 8
17 Tennessee 1 7 12
18 Stanford 0 8 12
19 Mississippi State 0 7 15
20 Arkansas 0 8 19

Even if the Tide had not gotten signatures of 5-star RB Trey Sanders and 5-star OL Evan Neal, this class probably would have still been #1 due to the quality of EVERY SINGLE SIGNEE.


First off, let me reference you back to the Saban/McCarron gif above. 247sports Comp ranked 34 prospects as 5-stars (Pierce Quick lost one star a few weeks ago when leap-frogged by someone and is the top-rated 4-star). 247sports non-composite doled out only 19. Rivals gave out 29 and ESPN only 13. In other words, they are rare.

Imagine if you - the Alabama fan - were a 5-star recruit in basketball. Would you go to Alabama? Or might you want to play for the GOAT Mike Krzyzewski at Duke and win national championships? There is no wrong answer but these are the similar questions seen put forth by many Tide fans regarding football recruiting.

In college football, some athletes want to play for the GOAT and win national championships. Others want/need to be close to home. For some, it’s something else that nobody else sees.

The moral of this story is that Alabama won’t get ALL the 5-stars. Regardless of this fact, they are going to be okay.


It has been well-documented how Nick Saban and staff got caught off-guard during last year’s recruiting cycle and his Crimson Tide finished (OH, THE HORROR) with the fifth best class. Some of the entitled may think that’s not good enough but it brought Bama Nation Patrick Surtain II and Jaylen Waddle (how he was not awarded 5-stars is beyond me).

This time around, Saban had a plan and that was to get them early and often. The Tide head coach is not a fan of in-season recruiting because the staff cannot spend good quality time with recruits and their families while preparing for the likes of LSU and Auburn. Thus, the Bama staff did most of their recruiting during the spring and summer. I am too lazy to do the reseasch but I believe Alabama had 17 or 18 players committed before the Tide kicked off against Louisville in Orlando. That is an outstanding total.

This method has already spilled over to future classes. The Tide already has 11 commits for the 2020 class and they rank... wait for it... number 1.


RIVALS Team ESPN Team 247Sports Team 247 Comp Team
1 Alabama 1 Alabama 1 Alabama 1 Alabama
2 Georgia 2 Georgia 2 Georgia 2 Georgia
3 Texas A&M 3 Texas A&M 3 LSU 3 Texas A&M
4 LSU 4 Michigan 4 Texas A&M 4 LSU
5 Oklahoma 5 Oregon 5 Michigan 5 Oregon
6 Clemson 6 LSU 6 Oklahoma 6 Oklahoma
7 Oregon 7 Clemson 7 Penn State 7 Clemson
8 Texas 8 Oklahoma 8 Oregon 8 Michigan
9 Michigan 9 Texas 9 Clemson 9 Texas
10 Penn State 10 Notre Dame 10 Ohio State 10 Penn State
11 Notre Dame 11 Ohio State 11 Notre Dame 11 Auburn
12 Arkansas 12 Penn State 12 Washington 12 Ohio State
13 Florida State 13 Auburn 13 Texas 13 Notre Dame
14 Auburn 14 Mississippi State 14 Auburn 14 Florida State
15 Washington 15 Tennessee 15 Florida 15 Washington
16 Tennessee 16 Florida 16 Stanford 16 Florida
17 Florida 17 Washington 17 Tennessee 17 Tennessee
18 Nebraska 18 Florida State 18 Nebraska 18 Stanford
19 Stanford 19 Arkansas 19 Mississippi State 19 Mississippi State
20 Ohio State 20 Ole Miss 20 Arkansas 20 Arkansas

The formula for 247’s Comp rankings is about as closely guarded as the recipe for Coca-Cola. It is not the same as 247’s individual rankings. Therefore, I treated the two as separate entities to average out the four ranking databases:

  1. Alabama
  2. Georgia
  3. Texas A&M
  4. LSU
  5. Oklahoma
  6. Oregon
  7. Michigan
  8. Clemson
  9. Penn State
  10. Texas
  11. Notre Dame
  12. Auburn
  13. Ohio State
  14. Washington
  15. Florida
  16. Tennessee
  17. Florida State
  18. Arkansas
  19. Stanford
  20. Mississippi State

As you can see above, that is four SEC schools up top.

Someone may want to alert Dan Wolken that the Dynasty is not over at Alabama but it might be at Ohio State.

And where oh were has little Southern Cal gone?


Matt Hinton had his list:

* Note that Traveon Freshwater is no relation to Joey Freshwater.

Below are a few other names for Key & Peele, including a pair or Alabama players:

  • Pierce Quick, Alabama
  • King Mwikuta, Alabama
  • Steele Chambers, Ohio State
  • Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon
  • Baylor Cupp, TAMU (how did this guy not end up at Baylor???)
  • De’Gabriel Floyd, Tejas
  • NaNa Osafo-Mensah, Notre Dame
  • Sean Dollars, Oregon
  • Diwun Black, Flroida
  • Tyron Hopper, Florida
  • Ray Parker, LSU (who ya gonna call?)
  • Ge’mon Eaford, Oregon
  • Makiya Tongue, UGA
  • Litchfield Ajavon, Notre Dame
  • Saleem Wormley, Penn State
  • Hunter Spears, Notre Dame
  • Te’Cory Couch, Miami
  • Joey Yellen, Arizona State
  • Jouvensly Bazile, Wazzu
  • Kamren Fabiculanan, Washington
  • Shawnkel Knight-Goff, UK


Clemson may get the team award. A few of their signees:

  • Taisun Phommachanh
  • Oghenerukevwe “Ruke” Orhorhoro
  • Bryton Constantin
  • Chez Mellusi
  • Etinosa Reuben
  • Kaleb Boateng
  • and of course Davis Allen


  • Too bad that New Orleans DB Devin Bush signed with Arkansas. If he had gone to Michigan, they could have just given him the jersey and locker of the outgoing Wolverines linebacker who shares the same name.
  • Cobe Bryant signs with SMU. It’s good that he found something after his NBA career ended.


Paul Tyson was not the only signee with some familiar lineage.

  • Howard Cross III, Notre Dame - Son of former Alabama and NY Giants tight end Howard Cross, Jr.
  • Chris Hinton, Jr., Michigan - Son of 7-time NFL Pro Bowler Chris Hinton.
  • Derek Stingley, LSU - grandson of Darryl Stingley who was infamously injured in an NFL game and became a paraplegic as a result.
  • Luke McCaffrey, Nebraska - Brother of Christian McCaffrey, son of Ed McCaffrey.
  • Tyler Fromm, Auburn - brother of Jake Fromm.


I don’t know what Kirby Smart did to tick off the people of Grayson High School located 40 miles from Athens, GA but the Bulldogs missed out on a plethora of blue-shippers from that school.

  • Wanya Morris OL 5-star Tennessee
  • Owen Pappoe LB 5-star Auburn
  • Kevin Harris DE 4-star Alabama
  • Kenyatta Watson DB 4-star Texas
  • Trente Jones OL 4-star Michigan
  • Kenyon Jackson WR 3-star Texas A&M
  • Ronald Thompkins APB 3-star Nebraska


I guess it’s a thing now that if you are a quarterback coming to Alabama, you better bring your badass left tackle with you. QB Paul Tyson will reunite with his Hewitt-Trussville teammate Pierce Quick in Tuscaloosa. So to will QB Taulia Tagovailoa be joined by his blindside protector Amari Kight.


When Braylen Ingraham and Jordan Battle signed with Alabama on Wednesday it signified a breakthrough of sorts for Crimson Tide recruiting. St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida has been a hotbed of recruiting for decades. To my knowledge, these two players are the first two out of that school to sign with Alabama as freshmen - at least going back as far as 2002.


As you can see in the rankings above, Auburn did okay. Not great but not terrible. They have a brand new quarterback in Bo Nix for Gustavo to ruin before he transfers in a couple of seasons. The Tigers also hung onto Mississippi native Jaren Handy and Georgian Owen Pappoe.

Auburn got a nice little consolation prize from Alabama. The Tide did all the legwork and hunted down former App State running back commit DJ Williams of Sebring, FL and had him positioned as a take if Trey Sanders had gone elsewhere. Since Sanders signed with Alabama, Williams had a Plan B of his own and signed with the Tigers.


A no-contact Dead Period has been in effect since Monday and continues until after the National Championship Game on January 7. From there, programs have a month to fill out their rosters.

Alabama signed 23 on Wednesday. The general belief is that they could take as many as five more. However, Saban is not going to sign that many if he doesn’t get who he wants.