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National Signing Day Recap: Alabama Crimson Tide sits atop the nation... again

Ho hum, just a 5-star running back and a safety in the top-50 in a quiet day for Alabama recruiting

CFP National Championship Presented by AT&T - Ohio State v Alabama Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Remember when the entire world shut down in March of last year? Pretty much the only thing anyone could talk or think about for weeks straight was the lockdown and curfews as we all tried to not catch Covid-19.

At the same time, those of us that follow Alabama Football had a second worry: The Tide’s recruiting class for the 2021 cycle was looking a bit dire.

The Alabama football 2021 recruiting class is causing concerns for Tide fans. Now with just one verbal commit, the Crimson Tide class is ranked as No. 48 nationally.

Borrowing a line that goes too far back to bother with attribution, the Alabama football, 2021 recruiting class started off slow and has tapered off. With Friday’s announced flip of 4-Star, QB, Drake Maye from the Crimson Tide to North Carolina, the Tide’s 2021 class has just one verbal commit.

Earlier this week, 4-Star, CB, Latrell McCutcheon also de-committed from the Alabama Crimson Tide. The single remaining verbal commit for the 2020 class is 4-Star, LB Deontae Lawson.

This lasted for a couple of months of hand-wringing, until Nick Saban went on a historic tear over the summer months, picking up at least one commitment every week for a couple of months.

By the time the Early Signing Day rolled around, Alabama had pretty much cemented their place at the top of the national rankings by the 247Sports Composite, though Ohio State was hot on their heels. There was also still a little bit of concern about the lack of a running back in the class and the depth at the safety position.

So what did Alabama do? They went and got the commitment of a 5-star running back in Camar Wheaton just a few days before Christmas. With another 5-star on board, that class went from being the best of the year into competition for the best of all time.

Well, fast forward another month, and Alabama held on to sign Wheaton. Nice. Officially the best of all-time, surpassing that 2010 class from Florida. Then, to close it all out, the mysterious recruitment of Terrion Arnold, the high 4-star safety out of Tallahassee, finally ended with a signing to play in Tuscaloosa.

The Tide addressed both needs they still had after the ESP, and did so by just casually signing two top-50 recruits.

By contrast, their in-state rival, Auburn’s top signee is ranked #80 overall, and their only recruit in the top-200.

Arnold’s commitment to Alabama absolutely shattered the record that Florida set in 2010, and is a class that’s unlikely to ever be touched again. Seven 5-star players, three of the top-10, eleven of the top 51, and only six ranked outside of the top 200.

Most impressive for Alabama is the offensive line unit. Offensive tackles Tommy Brockermeyer and JC Latham are the #1 and #2 at their position, and both in the top 5 overall. Guard Terrance Ferguson is a top 60 player, and center James Brockermeyer is the top rated guy at his position.

Throw in Jaeden Roberts, the massive guard from Texas, and you have an entire offensive line that would likely start as true freshmen for half of the teams in the FBS.

Possibly the most important recruit for Alabama, though, was Ga’Quincy McKinstry, the 5-star defensive back/receiver/basketball star out of Birmingham. He flirted heavily with Auburn and LSU, and would have been a huge recruiting loss for Alabama to have lost him to a rival out of their own backyard. He ultimately came to Tuscaloosa, and has even been seen working with the basketball team already.

And then there’s always the chance that this isn’t over yet. J.T. Tuimoloau, the #3 player by the 247 Composite (and #1 overall in their internal rankings), has yet to decide. The West Coast defensive lineman has long been thought to be between Alabama and Ohio State, though he may always stay out west at Washington/Oregon/USC. He’s been unable to visit any campuses since Covid hit, and wants to take a couple of visits when the dead period lifts this spring before making his final decision.

If he wants to come to Tuscaloosa, the Tide will find a way to have room on the roster, and it might just break 247’s all-time class rankings.

So, remember that time that Alabama won a national championship, went undefeated in an all-SEC schedule, had the first receiver to win a Heisman Trophy in 30 years, had the best QB, RB, WR, OT, OC, OL, and offensive coordinator in the nation, and then capped it all off with the best incoming recruiting class of all-time?

That sure is a long way from the crumbling dynasty we saw all over the media at this time last year.