Bama wins! Well, at least on signing day.
The University of Alabama took a trip down recruiting lane and came out with so much talent it was hard to sort it out.
Five-star recruit Tyler Love from Mountain Brook, an offensive tackle/beast of a man, had put his name on the list long before Signing Day.
Love decided before the ’07 season even started to go ahead and lay it all out on the table, so there would be no media distractions during his senior year.
Others apparently loved the attention from ESPN, FOX, and every other college football media source, as they decided to wait it out to signing day.
It goes without saying that Foley, AL’s own Julio Jones topped the list on February 6. The WR/Athlete lists at 6’5” and 215 lbs. He is a five-star athletic specimen that has been feared by high schools everywhere; and now, soon to be feared by colleges, if not already. Jones was rated the No. 1 receiver by Rivals.com and the fourth-ranked player overall in the nation. He should pose an immediate, serious threat for the Tide.
Burton Scott, Bama’s third five-star recruit, though small in stature—5’11” and 194 lbs.—is big in playmaking. This past season for Vigor (Prichard, AL), Scott rushed for 1000 yards and 15 touchdowns. Through the air he passed for 1200 yards and 10 touchdowns.
The label "dual threat" may be an understatement for this young man, for in 2006 he also hauled in over 350 receiving yards, making him a threat from every offensive angle of the field.
The night before Signing Day, Coach Saban was able to sway Flint, MI standout Mark Ingram, who Saban had been after for some time. Recruits Ingram and Scott could possibly pass as twins, both in size and threat. Ingram, a four-star RB, compiled 1700 yards on the ground, scoring 24 touchdowns during his senior year.
Scott’s signing with Alabama seemed to be a big surprise to everyone around him—except his new coach. Saban has proved that not only has he taken back the state of Alabama—grabbing almost 75 percent of her top 20 players—but has also reached out to players throughout the southeast, as well as across the country.
An example of Saban's success outside the Heart of Dixie is Star Jackson, from Lake Worth, FL. Jackson has proven to be successful running a pro-style offense. He threw for 16 touchdowns and over 1800 yards during his senior season.
At 6’3” and 182 lbs, this young man may very well be competing for the starting position as he steps onto campus.
Jackson's added speed, which is a 4.6 40, will be great should he need to use it. Most likely he will not have to resort to that behind an offensive line that boasts Andre Smith, the nation’s number-one lineman recruited in 2006, and this year’s O-line beast Love, looming at 6’7” and 285 lbs.
On the defensive side of the ball, Bama was also able to rack up talent left and right. Alonzo Lawrence, another out-of-state steal for the Tide, adds more young talent to the defensive back corps Bama already has in place.
At 6’1” and 187 lbs. this speedy DB from Lucedale, MS should give receivers and quarterbacks all they can handle.
However, one particular area of recruiting seemed to stand out—defensive linemen. Michael Williams and Glenn Harbin, defensive ends, each stand at 6’6” and both weigh near 250 lbs. Both young men should enhance the depth chart significantly, as well as two more defensive linemen who were added—Kerry Murphy (DT) and Brandon Lewis (DE).
The most significant factor with all four of these men is the fact that all four were rated four stars. But this list doesn't include four more defensive linemen, who signed with three-star status. That’s a total of eight defensive linemen signing with the Crimson Tide, four three-stars and four four-stars!
Bama’s incoming linebackers are not too shabby, either. Courtney Upshaw, from Eufaula, AL, is perhaps the best of the three linebacker recruits pulled in by Saban.
Along with Jerrell Harris from Gadsden and Don’ta Hightower from Lewisburg, TN, Alabama has a trio of four-star linebackers in this ’08 class.
Several other players listed as either WR or Athletes round out the rest of the four-star recruits. Now I could go on and on, but I think you get my point. Alabama ended the day with a remarkable 32 players, of which three were rated five-star and 19 were four-star. It goes without saying that Nick Saban, at least for now, is the master of recruiting. Yesterday made him look like a genius from every aspect.
Now there are a lot of contributing factors that went into this great “victory” for Bama. One, which I am sure lured so many of the young men, was the fact that depth is an issue following the scholarship reductions from recent years, and the opportunity to compete for a starting position for most of those who signed yesterday is very realistic.
Other schools which rounded out the Top 10 were probably not able to honestly throw that plug to their recruits, as was the Crimson Tide. Now, of course, this all just supposed thought, nothing of 100 percent accreditation has been said that supports this hypothesis. But it all makes sense.
Or it could possibly be that Saban has just mastered the art of luring in young talent. This will remain to be seen in the coming recruiting classes once the depth chart starts filling.
One thing remains though: the future. What will become of this class? If you have read my previous article—“NCAA Football Recruiting: Does It Really Matter?”—then I think you know exactly where I believe this recruiting class will be in three to four years.
So many factors yet unseen will be needed to contribute to the success of the ’08 recruits. I, for one, believe every factor will be fulfilled for this class—perhaps the best ever landed by the Alabama Crimson Tide!