The Alabama Crimson Tide are the reigning college football national champions, and they are arguably this year's winners on the recruiting trail as well after collecting the best class in the country Wednesday.
According to 247Sports' composite rankings, Alabama's 2016 haul finished in first place on national signing day, edging out the Florida State Seminoles and the LSU Tigers. The Tide added three 5-star recruits and 14 4-star recruits.
SB Nation's Rodger Sherman made light of how each Alabama loss is seemingly met with eulogies about the program's demise:
Rodger Sherman @rodger_sherman
Alabama's dynasty is dead. https://t.co/PBm5Q8HNX72016-2-3 22:01:57
Inside linebacker Ben Davis, outside linebacker Lyndell Wilson and offensive tackle Jonah Williams are among the headliners for Alabama. All three are ranked in the top 20 nationally in 247Sports' composite rankings. Running back B.J. Emmons, ranked second at his position, continues the assembly line of talented runners heading to Tuscaloosa.
Here's a look Alabama's full 2016 class:
|Player||Pos. Rank||Overall Rank|
|Ben Davis, ILB||1st||10th|
|Lyndell Wilson, OLB||2nd||15th|
|Jonah Williams, OT||2nd||17th|
|B.J. Emmons, RB||2nd||35th|
|Nigel Knott, CB||7th||62nd|
|Terrell Hall, WDE||6th||64th|
|Shyheim Carter, CB||9th||71st|
|Raekwon Davis, DT||11th||83rd|
|Kendell Jones, DT||12th||93rd|
|Trevon Diggs, ATH||4th||113th|
|Jared Mayden, CB||13th||147th|
|Quinnen Williams, DT||16th||159th|
|Deonte Brown, OG||9th||175th|
|Jalen Hurts, DUAL||3rd||176th|
|Chris Owens, OG||10th||177th|
|Scott Lashley, OT||18th||192nd|
|Miller Forristall, TE||17th||379th|
|Joshua Jacobs, APB||11th||460th|
|T.J. Simmons, WR||81st||469th|
|Shawn Jennings, ATH||37th||595th|
|Irvin Smith, TE||23rd||527th|
|Aaron Robinson, CB||57th||646th|
|Charles Baldwin, OT||1st (JUCO)||2nd (JUCO)|
|Jamar King, SDE||4th (JUCO)||51st (JUCO)|
No coach can continually recruit as well as Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban. Alabama has boasted an ESPN.com top-three class for what is now nine straight years, per the SEC Network. The school sat ninth earlier in the day but finished national signing day in second place:
SEC Network @SECNetwork
Bama Recruiting Class Ranks under Saban 2016: 9th 2015: 1st 2014: 1st 2013: 1st 2012: 1st 2011: 2nd 2010: 3rd 2009: 2nd 2008: 3rd 2007: 17th2016-2-2 20:36:19
Don't expect Saban to throw himself a party for a job well done, though, per Alex Scarborough of ESPN.com:
Alex Scarborough @AlexS_ESPN
Saban doesn’t like recruiting rankings: “It’s everybody’s guesstimate as to what kind of class we have.”2016-2-3 22:07:01
Saban is unquestionably one of the greatest coaches of his generation, but he's helped by continually being able to rely on such talented players. Ensuring the Crimson Tide dominate in recruiting is becoming even more important with the way the SEC schools are stockpiling blue-chip recruits, per the SEC Network:
SEC Network @SECNetwork
Updated SEC #SigningDay Class Rankings: Biggest Rise: Alabama (Up 7) Biggest Fall: Florida (Down 6) https://t.co/PLnRud3r072016-2-3 21:32:26
It's a safe bet one or more recruits from this year's class will feature heavily in the team in 2016. Wideout Calvin Ridley led the Crimson Tide in receiving as a true freshman, and cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick appeared in 14 games and intercepted two passes.
With Reggie Ragland graduating, Davis might be asked to take a somewhat large role—at least for a true freshman on a national title contender. He'll be able to perform a number of duties, be it defending the run, dropping back in coverage or rushing the passer. Davis' versatility is one of his strongest assets.
Saban has Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough waiting in the wings at running back to replace Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake, but that might not prevent Emmons from getting some carries out of the backfield. His strength and patient running style are perfect fits for Alabama's offense.
The beauty of consistently collecting strong recruiting classes is that Saban can let a number of talented players from his 2016 haul sit back, learn and develop in practice before he inserts them into the starting lineup.
Alabama may suffer a setback or two once in a while and miss out on a national championship. However, the Crimson Tide dynasty won't be ending anytime soon given how well Alabama reloads each year.
Saban still sets the bar not only on the field but also on the recruiting trail.
Recruit star ratings and player rankings are courtesy of 247Sports.