Another year come and gone, and Nick Saban has yet again pushed Alabama to the top of the world in recruiting rankings. In the first year of the Early Signing Period, 2018, Saban seemed to be caught off guard a bit, and his class slipped all the way to 5th (the horror!). Since then, he’s adapted his strategy and made sure to sign his entire class in December each year, leaving only a few spots for possible late additions.
If anything, the strategy definitely seems to have minimized some of the drama that surrounded signing day shenanigans that highlighted most of the 2010s decade.
This year was no different. For the most part, Alabama’s entire class was already committed ahead of time, and a couple of players that did wind up signing with the Tide were generally predicted fairly confidently by most of the experts.
Wide receiver Shazz Preston was the headliner of the recent commits as a top-50 guy out of Louisiana, and he was joined by Kendrick Law on Friday. Add in the more longstanding commit, Aaron Anderson, and Alabama managed to steal all three of the top wide receivers out of the Bayou State.
The other big flip was that of Jihaad Campbell. The edge rusher from IMG Academy was a longtime Clemson commit, but the coaching exodus away from Dabo Swinney saw Campbell decommit from the Tigers and wind up at Alabama.
And, of course, there was Eli Ricks. The former 5-star and starting cornerback for LSU announced his intent to transfer to the Tide
On the other hand, it wasn’t all good, as Alabama did lose the commitment of 4-star TE Jahleel Skinner. It was always kind of weird that the Tide held commitments from Amari Niblack, Elijah Brown, and Skinner for a position that doesn’t hold a whole lot of importance in their current iteration of the offense, so I have to think the coaching staff might have been expecting it.
Across the SEC, there was more or less a 3-way tie for first with Texas A&M, Alabama, and Georgia, with a big gap behind them for everyone else in the country. Alabama leads the trio in the average rating of recruit, but Texas A&M’s 26 total signees pushed the Aggies just a nose ahead for the #1 ranking.
The next three in the SEC? Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee.
Huh. What weird days we are in.
Even Vanderbilt wound up at 36th in the country, and Florida is bringing up the rear in the SEC with only 10 total commits. What a sorry state Dan Mullen left that program in.
Looking forward, Alabama has 24 commitments, and pretty much have all the positional needs filled out.
QB - Ty Simpson
RB - Emmanuel Henderson, Jamarion Miller
WR - Shazz Preston, Aaron Anderson, Kobe Prentice, Isaiah Bond, Kendrick Law (Bond or Law may wind up on defense)
TE - Amari Niblack, Elijah Brown
OL - Tyler Booker, Elijah Pritchett, Dayne Shor
DL - Jaheim Oatis, Isaiah Hastings, Khurtiss Perry, Walter Bob (may be a JUCO casualty)
EDGE - Jeremiah Alexander, Jihaad Campbell
LB - Shawn Murphy
CB- Eli Ricks, Earl Little Jr., Antonio Kite
S- Trequon Fegans, Jake Pope
Alabama clearly loaded up on speed and hybrid weapons on offense. Prentice, Law, and Bond (what a phenomenal trio of names) are all speed demons who can play defense, Henderson is a 5-star RB who might well be a receiver too, and Niblack is a jumbo athlete that’s as much a WR as he is a TE.
OL and LB are the two areas where this class is the lightest, but they were also the two spots that Alabama loaded up on in 2021. If Alabama picks up any more players for this class, I’d look at those two spots, as well as cornerback, as the most likely for Saban to be looking for.
5-star defensive back Denver Harris is still out there, though he’s expected to stay in-state with the Aggies or Longhorns.
St. John Boscoe offensive lineman, Earnest Greene, is another that’s been talked about a good bit for Alabama, though who knows where he’s going to go.
In any case, I expect Saban and crew are pretty well done with recruiting for this class, and are only going to keep the door open for a select few or a possible transfer portal gem.