Happy Thursday, everyone. Yesterday was a great day for Alabama football, and we will have plenty more to say about it. For now, let’s have a look at what the media is saying.
Alabama’s class currently tops every major recruiting ranking and the margins aren’t particularly close.
With nine of the top 48 players in the 247Sports composite and 14 of the top 77, the Crimson Tide pulled even further away from No. 2 Georgia. After inking 27 on Wednesday, Alabama’s class had 326.06 points in the 247Sports composite with Georgia at No. 2 with 309.37.
Yes, it’s a big shocker this trio again leads the way with three of the best classes. The Crimson Tide are the consensus No. 1 finishers helped by some late additions. Defensive lineman Keon Keeley - a former Notre Dame commit - came aboard last week and Kadyn Proctor, a longtime offensive lineman pledged to Iowa, flipped this week. Samuel M’Pemba could be the next defensive line standout for the Bulldogs, who have a class that is unusually short on the very top talents but has impressive depth throughout. The Buckeyes, unsurprisingly, landed two of the best wide receiver signees - Brandon Inniss and Carnell Tate - both from Florida.
Saban doesn’t deal in perception. He lives in reality. And the reality is that even against some of the toughest factors he’s faced — other great recruiters, the program not playing like itself this year and players fleeing via the portal — he reeled in an all-time class. It won’t stand out to some because of how regularly he does this, but Alabama fans should take a second and appreciate what they just witnessed.
One could argue Bama began its clinching of the top spot the day before signing day, when it flipped top-10 prospect Kadyn Proctor from the local Iowa Hawkeyes, but Nick Saban’s program hit on more key targets anyway Wednesday in landing in-state defensive stars James Smith and Qua Russaw. The Montgomery (Ala.) Carver duo, along with Proctor, all sit ranked within the top 25 of the SI99 prospects rankings. Alabama holds 12 members of the ranking in the 27-man class as of Wednesday evening. Texas A&M’s historic haul last cycle capped at 13 members in February. UA has time, and No. 1 cornerback Cormani McClain didn’t sign with Miami on Wednesday, to potentially make up ground in the near future.
McClain is an interesting case. Most think he still ends up in Miami and those who don’t think Deion Sanders is going to pull him to Colorado, but some of the Miami recruiting writers seem to think that it’s Alabama, not the Buffs, making a final push to land him. If nothing else, it’s worth keeping an eye on. Another top cornerback prospect, Desmond Ricks, is set to announce today and it seems that Alabama has taken the lead there. Of course, until pen hits paper none of it matters.
Saban was pleased about the class to say the least. Charles Kelly was the top recruiter this cycle, and it was announced that he will be heading to Colorado as DC after the Sugar Bowl.
“I really appreciate Deion and Charles Kelly both in terms of trying to finish the right way,” he said. “I went through that experience when I left the Cleveland Browns to go to Michigan State as the head coach [in 1995] and we had four or five or six games left. I felt like I owed to the players, to Coach Belichick and that Cleveland Browns organization to do the best job I could and stay focused on that. Charles has done a really good job of that.”
Saban said his entire coaching staff did a “fantastic job” in recruiting the 2023 class.
“This is a long-term process,” he said. “Guys really worked hard at this, not only in the evaluation process, but also in the recruiting process.
You can watch Nick’s entire press conference below.
Hey, look who gives a shit about the rules all of a sudden.
“I knew eventually there would be pay-for-play, but I did not know it would be NIL like it came about,” Fisher told reporters Wednesday during Texas A&Ms early signing period press conference. ”The problem with all of it is that there is no consistency and rules. And then when you get into the (transfer portal), there is so much tampering going on. It is utterly ridiculous. It is a joke. It’s an absolute joke. We are only in college football. I heard (UTSA coach Jeff Traylor) the other day say that everybody was robbing their players and taking their players. ... I mean this is not good for college football, as far as how it’s done. I’m not saying being able to transfer is bad. I’m not saying paying players bad. But the current status of the rules and the way it’s done and how it’s done? It’s ridiculous. It’s here. Everybody has the same issues and same problems.
Mark it zero, Dude.
Dabo was being Dabo again.
Dabo: "We built this program on NIL. Probably different than what you're thinking though... we built it on God's Name, Image, and Likeness."— Anna Adams (@AnnaH247) December 21, 2022
Last, Tide fans have a complicated love/hate relationship with the Sugar Bowl. Alabama football historian Kirk McNair wrote about that history along with the Tide’s prominence in other bowls.
In addition to Bryant’s national title wins in the 1978 (vs. Penn State) and 1979 (vs. Arkansas) national championship games, the Tide’s 1961 national championship team played in the Sugar Bowl and defeated Arkansas following regular season play.
Alabama under Gene Stallings had a national championship game victory in the Sugar Bowl at the end of the 1992 season, a special year in which Bama won the first Southeastern Conference Championship Game against Florida and then upset Miami, 34-13, to complete the undefeated national championship.
That’s about it for now. Have a great day.