The story on last February’s signing day was Alabama football coach, Nick Saban was done as college football’s top recruiter. How the script was changed.
Alabama football coach, Nick Saban was not pleased with how many commits were lost at the end of the 2018 recruiting cycle. In February 2018, three Crimson Tide commits unexpectedly flipped to other schools. The flips left holes in an otherwise solid class.
Always anxious to predict an Alabama football or Nick Saban demise, a chorus across the college football world claimed Nick, the ‘Recruiting King’ was no more. Did Nick and the Crimson Tide get dinged last February? Yes, but it was a glancing blow and certainly not lethal.
What Nick Saban did in response was what he has done for decades. Reassess the challenge, develop a new plan and get back to work. Stage one of the new plan was a rebuild of the Alabama football coaching staff. Strong coaches who were not equally strong at recruiting had to be replaced with younger, hungrier guys who excel at both tasks.
Saban also realized the impact of the Early Signing Period caused a major shift in the recruiting cycle. Relationships had to be built earlier, commits needed to be locked down sooner. With so many top recruits opting to sign early, only a few slots would be held for February.
Nick Saban and the Alabama football staff worked the new plan to near perfection. No coach or school can pull in every top target. In the early phase of 2019 recruiting, Alabama football came within two or three recruits of signing all its priorities. The staff wanted Kayvon Thibodeaux and Nakobe Dean. Clay Webb and Dax Hill were a couple more highly favored recruits.
There was a plan for the loss of each. Just as there was if Trey Sanders had gone elsewhere. 4-Star signee, Justin Eboigbe and 4-Star commit Khris Bogle were the backup plans to missing on 5-Star, Thibodeaux. 4-Star, Henry To’oto’o is the backup to missing on 5-Star, Dean. A loaded offensive line signing class is the backup to losing Webb. Tide coaches apparently knew flipping Jordan Battle might cause Dax Hill to flip back to Michigan. They decided Battle was worth it.
Who is to say if the backup plans don’t result in more future Crimson Tide stars than the first choices might have become? It happens season after season, all across college football.
The Nick Saban plan worked so well, the 2019 class is almost assured to finish as Nick’s best-ever class. It is already the first one made up of 5-Star and 4-Star players (Note: the one 3-Star is kicker Will Reichard and 3-Stars is the max for the position.) Based on the current 23 signees and three commits, the average player rating from the 247 Sports Composite is at 94.04, the highest ever for a Saban class.
Alabama football fans should be very excited about the 2019 signing class. It is almost assured to get even better before it is over. It is true there are a raft of recruiting, younger guns aiming for Nick Saban. Many of them are former Saban assistants. Maybe one of them will supplant Nick somewhere in the future. But it has not happened yet.
Who will the Crimson Tide sign in February? First, there are a couple of football games to win. If anything big transpires with recruiting, Bama Hammer will pass it along.