Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Signing Day Wrap Up: "We're Number 1" has declared that Alabama's 2008 Signing Class is the best in the nation. also currently has Alabama ranked in the top spot. ESPN, whose ranking system is radically different from the mainstream recruiting services, ranks Alabama's class as the 4th best in the nation.

What does it mean? What is that worth? A myriad of thoughts...

• Well, it means a little positive pub for one. Alabama has long been this stodgy old has-been with dull, classic uniforms to up-and-coming players. But players like Julio Jones, Burton Scott, et. al. signal to everyone that Alabama is a happening place again.

• Long-time Alabama "recruitniks" (folks who have watched Alabama HS football for years and can thus lend perspective) are hailing this class as the greatest class we've inked in about twenty years. That class twenty years ago comprised of many of the players who went on to lead the Tide to the 1992 National Championship.

• It may even perhaps be the most talent-loaded class in the nation in recent memory. For as long as has been keeping recruiting records in their considerable & unrivaled database (back to the Signing Day class of 2002), the most 4- & 5-star players a school has signed in any given year has been 21. This was accomplished by LSU ('07), Florida ('06), Texas ('02), and Tennessee ('02). However, with this '08 class, Alabama has signed twenty-two 4- & 5-star players. And this was only Nick Saban's first full recruiting season at Alabama.

Signing Class
All Those Stars...
(Click to Enlarge)
• Since Alabama ended their '07 regular season with 4 losses in a row in the month of November, it has widely been held that what Alabama needs isn't just more talent. The program needs a psychological flush. That is, there were a lot of players who were quitters & held bad attitudes that held the team back. A normal signing class consists of 25 players. However, thanks to early entry players & non-football scholarships, Alabama will be able to bring in a few more. A handful of Alabama's 32 signees will likely not qualify. But Alabama is bringing a full class of fresh players who haven't been spoiled by the lack of discipline & bad attitudes that were allowed to exist under the previous regime. Alabama fans are not only celebrating the influx of talent, but the volume of it as well.

• Finally, a number one recruiting class means little unless you get the guys in school, develop them, and start winning championships. Also, one class alone does not a championship make. What separates the USC Trojans (who perennially sign top 5 recruiting classes) from the USC Gamecocks (who signed their first top 5 class last year, but weren't able to pull a repeat performance) is having the ability to stack this caliber of talent in classes year after year. Nick Saban has demonstrated that he can do all of these things. He developed a National Champion at LSU in 2003, and even had the #1 & #2 classes according to in the nation in back-to-back years in his final two years there (in 2003 & 2004). While Alabama's rivals may want to poke fun at claiming a "paper championship," deep down they know that a new day is dawning.

It is an exciting time to be an Alabama football fan. Thanks for putting up with my recruiting non-sense for at least this one day. ;-p

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