Alabama's Class of 2013: The Players Who Will Determine Nick Saban's Legacy
In 2010, Alabama failed to defend its 2009 national championship, going 10-3. Coach Nick Saban is determined not to repeat that failure in 2012.
While national championships are certainly the goal in Tuscaloosa, they would not be possible without a successful recruiting process.
According to ESPN, Alabama finished among the top three teams in recruiting over the past four years. Most recently, ESPN ranked Alabama’s 2012 recruiting class as No. 1 in the nation.
With the recent addition of Paul Gonnella to the Alabama staff as the director of player personnel, it's no surprise that the class of 2013 could be even better than the class of 2012. Currently, there is one 5-star recruit and 12 4-star recruits in the class of 2013 compared to two 5-star and 12 4-star recruits in the Class of 2012.
Here's a closer look at the class of 2013.
Reuben Foster (LB, Auburn, Ala.) 6’2'', 242 Pounds
Following the loss of Dont'a Hightower and Courtney Upshaw, the Crimson Tide will be in need of reinforcements at linebacker. Though just a freshman, Reuben Foster has the potential to contribute in 2013. The Under Armour All-American passed up an opportunity to attend his hometown Auburn in order to join Nick Saban's growing dynasty.
His sturdy frame and good size lend themselves to the college level. As the No. 2 recruit in the nation, according to ESPN, Foster is an incredible physical specimen.
O.J. Howard (TE, Prattville, Ala.) 6’6", 225 Pounds
At 6'6" and 225 pounds, Howard has tremendous size and quickness. The Alabaman chose Alabama over Auburn, Georgia Tech and Ole Miss. Concerns do exist about O.J. Howard's strength and the quality of his high school competition.
Altee Tenpenny (RB, North Little Rock, Ark.) 5’11", 207 Pounds
Altee Tenpenny, the 53rd-ranked player in the nation, runs as 4.4 40-yard dash. With this speed, Tenpenny gained more than 1,000 rushing yards as a sophomore. Off the field, he has stood out in combine drills, particularly at the FCA combine.
Tenpenny's versatility and athleticism may earn him playing time in 2013.
Cooper Bateman (QB, Salt Lake City, Utah) 6’3'', 196 Pounds
Alabama is not in immediate need of a quarterback. Regardless, Nick Saban always seems to plan ahead, recruiting a couple of quarterbacks each year to provide options at the position.
Bateman, ranked as the fifth-best quarterback in the nation by ESPN, is an elite prospect. He chose Alabama over BYU, his hometown quarterback factory, and more than 50 other schools.
Further, Bateman's 3.6 grade-point average suggests that he should have the intelligence to excel in Alabama's offensive system.
Tyren Jones (RB, Marietta, Ga.) 5’8'', 190 Pounds
Jones' stocky build (5'9") lends itself to short sprints. As a running back, he has a demonstrated an ability to run downhill. He committed to Alabama over Auburn.
Jonathan Allen (DE, Ashburn, Va.) 6’3", 225 Pounds
Jonathan Allen lives in close proximity to Redskin Park in Ashburn, Va. Though he is not on the Redskins' roster, Allen plays with a sense of urgency that is rare among high school players. He is a proven pass-rusher and is ranked as the 82nd-best player in the nation by ESPN.
Andy Dodd (OG, Lindale, Ga.) 6’4", 315 Pounds
Andy Dodd may be the most underrated recruit in the class of 2013. Rivals considers Dodd to be the 30th- best offensive lineman in the Class of 2013. Further, his in-state university (Georgia) did not offer him a scholarship.
AaDarius Stewart (ATH, Birmingham, Ala.) 6'1", 185 Pounds
ArDarius Stewart is preparing for his short move down the road to Tuscaloosa in 2013. Stewart, who has a knack for coming through in the clutch, is ranked as the 146th-best recruit in the country by ESPN.
Anthony Averett (ATH ,Woodbury, N.J.) 6’0", 170 Pounds
Averett, of Woodbury, N.J., will serve as "another athlete" in the mix. His 4.4 speed in the 40-yard dash is appealing to Nick Saban. The Alabama recruit recently showed off his speed, winning the 100-meter dash at the New Jersey state championships. He also won the long jump and high jump.
Bradley Bozeman (OG, Roanoke, Ala.) 6’5'', 310
Bozeman, the 167th-best player in the class of 2013 according to Rivals, chose Alabama over Clemson. Most everyone who has seen him play comments on his enormity. Additionally, Bozeman is considered an excellent run-blocker.
Grant Hill (OG, Huntsville, Ala.) 6'5", 320 Pounds
As of February, Grant Hill decided to join the Alabama family. The Under Armour All-American is a strong individual who chose Alabama over Auburn and Tennessee.
Raheem Falkins (WR, New Orleans, La.) 6’4", 195 Pounds
Raheem Falkins is considered the 36th-best wide receiver in the country because of his excellent hands and nose for the ball. Though many criticize his lack of speed, he is a possession receiver out of George Washington Carver High School who has the potential to make a mark at Alabama.