Nick Saban has helped take Alabama football recruiting to new heights.
Depending on which recruiting service you quote (and they all have some good qualities,) the Crimson Tide staff has three straight years of top 3 recruiting classes in the team rankings with a great chance at a fourth. Some have had Alabama number one in two of those three years. That number one ranking is certainly within reach again for the 2011 class.
Let’s take a look inside the numbers at the University of Alabama’s recruiting in 2011 by pointing out interesting numbers, trends, comparisons and developments that stand-out when you break it all down. Rivals.com with their list of verbal commits, list of offers and list of prospects is the information source for my analysis below.
Nick Saban’s staff revamped and revived in-state recruiting in his first two recruiting seasons at Alabama. Since then, the Tide staff has continued to recruit strong in-state. Each year Alabama recruits more and more out of state and going farther away each year to pull in prospects. Last season the Tide offered more players from Georgia and Florida than from its home state of Alabama. Granted, the overall talent was down in-state from the year before in Alabama but there still were a lot of quality players available.
Alabama’s increased target of out-of-state prospects in football opened the door to help a young and hungry Auburn coaching staff to close the gap some in the state in route to arguably its best recruiting class ever in 2010. Alabama still landed many of the elite players in the state but Auburn improved drastically over the embarrassing trouncing at the hands of the Tide when it came to in-state recruiting at the end of the Tuberville era.
This year, coming off of the 2009 BCS National Championship, Alabama is recruiting even more elite players from around the country than ever before. Out of Alabama’s 130 known offers (occasionally some will stay under wraps but most offers are known not long after it happens,) only 12 of those players are from the state of Alabama. That’s only 9 percent, which is down from last season’s 14 percent at signing day for the 2010 class. The total number of offers is up as well. The final offer list for the 2010 class had 114 players. Bama is already at 130 with almost certainly more to come.
Recruiting and college football analysts point out that it’s not simply that Alabama is recruiting more national top-tier prospects but more and more of those elite five star prospects are extremely interested in playing for Alabama.
Which SEC school has offered the most five-star prospects in the 2011 recruiting class? If you guessed Florida (in years past you’d be right,) you’re close but you’re incorrect. At the moment, Alabama has offered the most Rivals five-star prospects in the SEC. Here’s the list below.
Rivals Five-star prospects offered by SEC teams (as of 6/19/10)
South Carolina 4
Mississippi State 0
Ole Miss 0
I think you can see a coaching staff’s position focus more from the list of offers than the list of commits. Certainly, there are factors outside of a staff’s control that can move the numbers but obviously the more offers at a position, the more likely you are to land somewhere close to the number you were looking for at that position.
The coaching staff, as usual, has offered a lot of versatile players that have and can play multiple positions and on both sides of the ball. That’s a big plus if your commits end up a player short from the target at a specific position.
Defensive tackle is a clear position of emphasis especially considering that when the Tide is in the 3-4 base defense there’s usually only one DT on the field at a time. Offensive tackles, strongside defensive ends and wide receivers are positions where Alabama should have multiple players commit when it gets around to signing day.
When the 2011 class comes in, Mark Ingram will almost certainly be in the NFL, Trent Richardson will be a junior and Eddie Lacy a redshirt sophomore, so the next big star running back will need to be stockpiled at an always deep position and you can see the attention the running back position is getting from the staff.
Here’s how the commit list breaks down by position for Alabama.
Alabama football offers by position (as of 6/19/10)
Let’s look at the 130 players offered by Alabama and where they come from. This should further illustrate how much Alabama’s recruiting areas have expanded. There are other factors to consider as well including how good the talent in some states is this year compared to last year (i.e. great year in Florida and improved in Mississippi.) Compared to last year, offers are up in Florida, Texas, California, Arizona, Ohio, North Carolina and Mississippi. Offers are down in Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina and Alabama. Here’s how the offered prospects break down geographically.
States with number of players offered by Alabama (as of 6/19/10)
South Carolina 5
North Carolina 4
New Jersey 1
Of the 130 players Alabama has offered, 51 have verbally committed to a school with 14 of those (20%) being to Alabama.
So who is offering the Crimson Tide staff with its stiffest competition for the players that it covets? Florida, Auburn, LSU and Georgia would all be excellent and logical choices. The answer though is Florida State and Texas. Both of those schools have five commits that were offered by Alabama, more than any of the Tide’s SEC rivals. Here’s how the list of teams that have the most players offered by Alabama on their commit list instead.
Schools where Bama offers have committed to over Alabama – 37 players (as of 6/19/10)
Florida State 5
Ohio State 3
North Carolina 1
Michigan State 1
Notre Dame 1
Mississippi State 1
The 14 impressive verbal commits breakdown like this by the numbers for the Crimson Tide.
Commits by state (as of 6/19/10)
Commits by position (as of 6/19/10)
In addition, Alabama has already offered 14 prospects in the 2012 class.
Imagine what’s going to happen once Nick Saban has a proven, direct and successful pipeline to the NFL established at next year’s NFL draft. With the star-studded junior class from Alabama, we could see as many as six first rounders from the program. That’s the one thing that Nick Saban has been missing from his resume in recruiting at Alabama. That missing piece will end in April. It will only strengthen the ability of the nation’s best recruiting staff to find the players they want most at Alabama. Another national title wouldn’t hurt either.
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