A funny thing happened late Tuesday night, and it's an indication that Alabama truly has its program firing on all cylinders.
Junior college offensive lineman Dominick Jackson, a 6'7", 304-pounder from the College of San Mateo in California, flipped his commitment from UCLA to Alabama, according to BamaOnline.com (subscription required). Jackson has offers from all over the country including Florida, Arkansas, Oregon and Texas A&M; he is expected to be a contributor immediately after stepping foot on campus.
“The SEC is where you want to play D-1 ball," Jackson told BamaOnline (h/t AL.com). "If you can compete there, you can play at the next level for sure. It’s where everyone wants to be. They’ve been the national champions for two consecutive years and they have Coach Nick Saban."
When a 4-star player in the 247Sports.com composite flips to a program across the country, that news usually spurns plenty of talk in recruiting circles. Instead, it seems like this particular commitment was met with more of a lackluster nod of approval.
Instead of "Wow," it was met with "Yeah, that sounds about right."
Alabama flipping a 4-star prospect isn't newsworthy anymore—it's par for the course.
That's the biggest benefit of being in the midst of this dynasty. Alabama doesn't recruit players to Tuscaloosa anymore—it chooses which prospects are worthy of consideration. If you make that cut, you take head coach Nick Saban's call no matter where you live.
Former Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley said it best last season (h/t AL.com):
"They draft, we recruit," he said. "And they get the first 25 picks of the draft."
Titles are nice, statues make nice campus destinations, and crystal footballs look great in professionally lit trophy cases; but recruiting is the lifeblood of college football. Alabama's success on the field and through the NFL draft has elevated the program to a level where it can be incredibly selective as to who it pursues.
Perception is reality in college football.
The reality of Alabama sending 22 players to the NFL through the draft over the last three seasons is incredibly beneficial, but the perception that Alabama is this juggernaut that can't be beat is also playing a huge role into Alabama's recruiting success.
It doesn't get much better than this, Alabama fans. You've reached a point where complacency is a good thing and a positive statement towards the state of the program.
That's hard to do.