The only thing more important than football season around here is ‘crootin’ season and its culmination on National Signing Day. Surely, you have not missed CB’s excellent NSD ‘18 coverage the past few weeks? And I know you didn’t miss yesterday’s live updates and analyses...or today’s recap, right?
Like Nick Saban, the Early Signing Period caught us off-guard. Yes, without it, Alabama would not have been able to snag the best corner in the class, Patrick Surtain Jr., or land a true hidden gem in Jaylen Waddle — Percy Harvin 2.0 in the making. The lesson for us all going forward is that if you’re serious, you’ll get it done in December. For us, as for the Alabama staff, it was a learning period.
It was a small Alabama class; just 20 players committed. A lot of that is attributable to coaching turnover, late defections, shenanigans and the like. But one reason that’s not being discussed very much is that, compared to 2017 and 2019, the 2018 NSD Class just isn’t as strong or as deep at many position. There are some exceptions to be sure, notably at wideout. But, it is no coincidence that Alabama went heavy last year, and is off to a very strong start for 2019 as well, posting far more offers than it did last year at this time. Clemson (17 of 18), Miami (23 of 25), USC (17 of 18),and Auburn (23 of 26) also had smaller classes than spots allowed.
As with all classes, there are superstars waiting in the wings. But, this year does seem to have fewer of them...and maybe, as Josh suggested yesterday, that’s not so bad of a thing.
I can’t say that this doesn’t hurt. B.J. Emmons, a depth chart casualty, has reunited with his old OC, joining Lane Kiffin in Boca Raton to play for the FAU Owls. That’s going to be criminally unfair to the poor bastards in CUSA — he’s a load.
Best of luck, B.J., at FAU and on to the NFL. Because I can say with some degree of certainty that our paths will not cross again.
Though it is a smaller class, the real needs that weren’t particularly filled were at QB and depth along the D-line.
Why? As for QB, it’s pretty simple: Recruits can watch a television and read depth charts.
“...When you have really good young players at a position, sometimes it’s hard to attract another guy at that particular position,” Saban said. “I think you all know our circumstance at quarterback right now with the players we have here and what grade they’re in, how much eligibility they have.”
Nick Saban did hint that perhaps another QB will be added during the offseason, signaling that a grad transfer may be in the works. (There’s also more than a little grumbling that Brian Daboll was a crappy recruiter.)
As for the decommited defenders, recruiting can be summed up easily: It’s a relationship game, and the coaching turnovers the past 25 months decimated those relationships. Without naming any names (cough Kirby, cough Jeremy), Saban nailed it:
Following the completion of Tide recruiting with five additions Wednesday, Alabama Coach Nick Saban said, “I don’t think there’s any question about the fact there may be some prospects out there who were being recruited by somebody who left, and maybe that is a little bit of an issue with them.
“In recruiting, especially when you start recruiting guys two years in advance, when they feel comfortable and develop relationships with people, certainly it can have an effect on how comfortable they feel with other coaches.”
As with QB, Saban suggested that he may be adding defensive line players via transfer. So, NSD ‘18 is complete, but this roster is probably not done growing.
LSU had a smaller class too, but theirs was attributable to a brutal fact succinctly summarized by Surtain:
“They [Alabama] win championships, and I want to be a part of that.”
It’s the most painful Alabama quote directed at LSU since Quincy Jackson’s “The Tide don’t lose in Baton Rouge” taunt from 20 years ago.
This quote will stick in the craw of every LSU fan who has watched the Tigers lose seven straight games to the Crimson Tide and an assembly line of talented players like Landon Collins and Cam Robinson and Eddie Lacy and Hootie Jones and Tim Williams and Dylan Moses.
Alabama just takes. And LSU has to take it.
And, man, is the salt flowing in Baton Rouge.
As usual, the Tigers did nail down some great WRs and a lot of talent along both lines, but they don’t have a quarterback. I don’t say that in the “LSU has bad quarterbacks or busts”-sense, I mean literally they did not a single player at their most crucial position of need.
That Baton Rouge angst led to some grownups behaving badly, including by the disappearing act known as Jarvis Landry, he of the 13 career catches against Alabama.
Looking to NSD 2019, Alabama does have the benefit of a stronger home field this season, as the AHSAA class of 2019 is far deeper than it was in 2018. There are at least a dozen players looking at big time offers, including recent Alabama OL commit Pierce Quick.
Here’s the top 20 in-state.
Don’t tweet at recruits! Yeesh, you’d think that Johnny Manziel would know that. He apparently did not know or did not care...and he committed a secondary NCAA violation yesterday.
The team that gave Urban Meyer at-the-time the most expensive contract in college football is now decrying the salary commanded by elite coaches — singling out Nick Saban’s deal as particularly egregious. Nice try, pal. Urban Meyer is still the 4th highest paid coach in the country.
Nick Saban’s complete remarks at yesterday’s post-signing presser are here. Enjoy.
That’s all for this nonce. Go forth now to tweeting angry things at your least-favorite NSD decommit!