National Signing Day is coming up on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012. It is the first day that recruits are allowed to sign letters of intent.
Recruits are, of course, not required to sign with anyone on Wednesday. However, it has become a perennial tradition for the top recruits to officially put pen to paper for their future alma maters.
Nick Saban and his staff always aim for the top recruits that best fit his system. With those targets, he has pulled in only one recruiting class that has not been ranked in the top five. (In 2007, his recruiting class was ranked 17th in the nation by ESPN.)
With the obvious hope of bringing the No. 1 recruiting class to the Capstone out of the way, here are the other seven things that the Tide are wishing for on Wednesday.
These wishes do not include the Tide's expected signees, with the exception of Landon Collins. I don't put anything past Saban and company in terms of recruiting, and that means any one of these guys could still end up at the Capstone.
The "alternate wishes" are all in the event that the recruit doesn't choose the Tide.
Arik Armstead is a 6'7" beast that weighs in at 280 pounds. He is No. 24 on the ESPN 150, but he comes in at No. 2 on Scout.com. He's an OT, and Alabama definitely needs to think about replacing the talent that will leave after the 2012 season.
Armstead would be a big fish for the Tide, and he would soften the blow of departures at the end of 2012. He has the talent to replace Barrett Jones. Time will tell if he has the work ethic.
Alternate wish: If not Alabama, then not Auburn or Notre Dame, please.
Update: Armstead officially goes to Oregon. Alternate wish granted. (Dropped from top slide as a result of decision.)
Jameis Winston would be a nice prize this year. However, the Tide currently has A.J. McCarron and Philip Sims. Moreover, 3-star QB Alec Morris is committed to Alabama for the 2012 class.
Alabama has a lot of talent to replace in the near future, and it's not at quarterback. While this is a big (long-shot) wish for the Tide, he is a recruit that they can afford not to get.
A dual-threat quarterback would be an asset to this team. However, with the crop of running backs they have, they need a gunner more than a runner at the signal-caller position.
Alternate wish: Ohio State, although that is also a long shot.
Peat is an OT out of Tempe, Arizona, standing at 6'7" and weighing in at 300 pounds. Alabama has offered him a spot on the team, and he is the No. 9 recruit on the ESPN 150 list.
Again, the OT position is one they will need to recruit this year so they can be ready to play when the experience leaves the Capstone.
Arizona is way out of the recruiting territory for the Tide, so a lot of wishing will be necessary to get him to wear crimson.
Alternate wish: Stanford. He's got offers from the best schools in the nation in Alabama and Stanford. If it's an academic decision, go to Stanford. If it's a football decision, go to 'Bama.
Ronald Darby is another 5-star recruit that makes the wish list for Alabama. Scout.com lists him as the No. 1 cornerback in the nation coming out of high school.
With Alabama's defense approaching legendary status this decade, he would definitely be a player that would command respect from opposing offenses.
If Alabama wants to stay on track to become the "Team of the Decade," repeatedly landing No. 1 prospects would definitely be a great start.
Alternate wish: Anywhere but Auburn.
The Tide likely has a solid receiving corps on the way in 2012, with or without Dorial Green-Beckham. That's why he's not higher on this list.
He's the No. 3 recruit on the ESPN Top 150, and he's the No. 1 WR recruit as well. He would be a valuable asset to the Tide and quite possibly an immediate threat on the field as a freshman.
Alternate wish: If he doesn't go to the Tide, Texas would be a good fit. He could help bring them back to relevance so the Tide can smash them up in bowl season more. That 1-7-1 record could go the Tide's way in my lifetime, and Texas can't get there without some major players.
At 6'4" and 310 pounds, Eddie Goldman would make an impact with any defense. The Alabama Crimson Tide need defensive headliners in this class, and Goldman definitely fits that bill.
Defense wins championships, and it has won Alabama two championships in three years. Eddie should mull that particular fact over before he makes his announcement on Wednesday.
Alternate wish: Anywhere but Auburn, Mr. Goldman.
Landon Collins is an Alabama commit as of Jan. 5, 2012, and you have probably already seen the video clip (up top) of his mother's disapproval of his choice of the Tide over the LSU Tigers on that night. (Her opinion was solicited, so I see no issue with what she said.)
Collins would be a great player in the years to come for the Tide. With the defensive losses in 2012 and more coming in 2013, Collins would be a huge pickup for the Tide.
He's this high on the list because he lives in Louisiana. He probably has heard a lot of pro-LSU/anti-Alabama talk since his verbal commitment.
He said the decision was very tough, so I think he's more solid on the verbal commit than people may feel like he is.
Alternate wish: Wherever he goes, we hope he does well and doesn't ever regret his decision...except in early November when he loses to the Tide (should he back into LSU on Wednesday).