In year’s past, the first Wednesday in February was the biggest day of the offseason, but the second iteration of Early Signing Period has relegated it to a rather small and insignificant event. It’s more about finalizing what was started in December, rather than the main event in itself.
In any case, Alabama signed 3 more players than they had in December and came away with, yet again, the top recruiting class in the nation.
Ishmael Sopsher: 4-star defensive tackle, #47 overall, #5 DT, #3 in Louisiana
The massive defensive tackle was once a 5-star, top-15 recruit, but fell down in the rankings after some lackluster performances in the All-Star circuit. He was predicted by most to be an LSU guy, but wound up choosing the Tide.
Keilan Robinson: 4-star running back, #244 overall, #15 RB, #2 in D.C.
A 5’9” sparkplug, Robinson has long been an Alabama commit but wanted to wait to sign in February so he could sign with the rest of his high school football team. There was never any doubt he was solid to Alabama, but some thought that maybe he would be expendable once Trey Sanders signed. That wasn’t the case, and now Alabama has an all-purpose back who excels in the receiving game as well as running it.
Byron Young: 4-star defensive tackle, #77 overall, #8 DT, #6 in Mississippi
Young is a tweener that can play both defensive end or move inside and play tackle. He’s bulked up from 260 to 290 in the last year and a half. When he didn’t sign in December, many folks started the hand-wringing and wondering if Young would end up somewhere else. He will now add depth to an already stellar defensive line class for the Tide.
In the way of losses, Alabama commits Christian Williams (DB) and Chris Bogle (OLB) both ended up signing elsewhere. Williams was an expected loss. When he didn’t sign in December, the Tide added 2 more defensive backs and stopped recruiting him.
Bogle hurt a little more, as the Tide was hoping to add another pass rusher. Some tweets from him a couple of weeks ago made it seem like the coaching turnover for the Tide was a major factor in him changing his mind.
The same could be said for Henry To’oto’o, a West Coast linebacker who many had been predicting to be a Tide lean. Tosh Lupoi had been his primary recruiter, and it seems that Lupoi leaving may have been a major concern for him. That doesn’t explain why he chose Tennessee instead, but hey, nobody’s perfect.
On the less heralded side of things, Alabama picked up a couple of special teams players as preferred walk-ons/blueshirts. Gabriel Pugh is a 6’5” 260 pound long snapper out of Northridge HS in Tuscaloosa. He’s unrated as an offensive tackle, but is one of the top rated long snappers in the nation. In the past, Alabama/Saban has focused on having long snappers that are about the size of a linebacker, but this time is going more for a small lineman.
The other is WR/KR Eric Poellnitz out of Mobile Christian Academy in Alabama. A 2-star recruit, Poellnitz turned down offers from schools such as Southern Miss, Memphis, and Tennessee to come to Alabama. He was never recruited officially by the Tide, so it’s unclear if he is going to be a preferred walk-on or a blueshirt. Either way, he’s an electric kick returner, if a bit on the tiny side, and will be a boon to the special teams depth in the future.
At the end of the day, Alabama came away with the clear cut #1 class in the nation. All is right with the world.
It was a 27-man recruiting class— a little larger since last year’s class was on the small side— that had 3 five-stars and 23 four-stars. The only 3 star recruit was the #1 kicker in the nation. I’m not sure there’s ever been a class that big made up totally of 4-star recruits and up.
By 247’s ratings, Alabama wound up with a final score of 317.50. It’s not quite the best class ever like some of us were hoping last fall, but it was pretty close. It wound up in 6th, behind Alabama’s 2013, 2014 and 2017 classes, Georgia’s 2018 class, and Florida’s 2010. However, when looking at the average rather than the total score, Alabama wound up with a 94.38, which is tied for first all-time with Ohio State’s 2017 class.
So, the dynasty isn’t dead just yet folks. Enjoy the next 4 years.