The easy deduction is that it is the best recruiting class by the nation’s best recruiter, Nick Saban. But there is so much more to say about this latest addition to the Alabama football team.
Before we go further, let us discard the adage that “We won’t know for two or three years.” That was real old school. When entities such as Scout.com got serious about recruiting coverage, the company made it a priority to get people in the field who knew as much about assessing high school football talent as anyone short of the best college evaluators. Experts like our own John Garcia, Jr., don’t miss on any more prospects than does Nick Saban.
Since 2008, going into this signing year, Saban had signed 16 five-star players. Only two of them were not college stars (although a couple have yet to have the opportunity for stardom). One of those was a quarterback, Phillip Sims, who transferred after he was beaten out for the job by A.J. McCarron. The other, offensive tackle Tyler Love, could never add the weight he needed.
But neither Scout.com nor Saban missed on the likes of five-stars Juio Jones, Mark Barron, Trent Richardson, Dre Kirkpatrick, Dee Milliner, HaHa Clinton-Dix, Cyrus Kouandjio, and Landon Collins, among others.
Although it would be reasonable to declare it too early to evaluate last year’s crop of six five-star players, we’ll suggest all will be stars on the field as well as in Scout.com rating. Who wouldn’t want A'Shawn Robinson, Derrick Henry, O.J. Howard, Jonathan Allen, Reuben Foster, and Robert Foster (although we haven’t seen Robert Foster yet)?
By the way, that 2013 list of six five-star players is the most by a team in the history of Scout.com.
And there’s a new record with the Alabama class of 2014 having seven five-star signees.
Cornerback Tony Brown (6-1, 185, Beaumont, Texas), outside linebacker Rashaan Evans (6-3, 218, Auburn) ), defensive end Da'Shawn Hand (6-4, 262, Woodbridge, Va.), cornerback Marlon Humphrey (6-0, 174, Hoover, offensive tackle Dominick Jackson (6-7, 315, College of San Mateo, Calif.). offensive tackle Cameron Robinson (6-5, 330, West Monroe, La.), and running back Bo Scarbrough (6-2, 234, Tuscaloosa).
Scout.com is very stingy with its five-star awards to junior college players. Jackson was one of only three with that designation, and he is ranked is the best junior college prospect regardless of position.
Alabama landed five men considered the best prospects at their positions. In addition to Jackson, they are:
Evans, Robinson, and four-star center J.C. Hassenauer (6-23, 290, Woodbury, Minn.).
The Crimson Tide class also has 13 players rated as four-star performers. In addition to Hassenauer, they are:
Safety Laurence Jones, better known as “Hootie” (6-1, 210, Monroe, La.), defensive tackle Josh Frazier (6-3, 330, Springdale, Ark.), outside linebacker Ronnie Clark (6-32, 213, Calera), wide receiver Cameron Sims (6-4, 200, Monroe, La.), offensive guard Ross Pierschbacher (6-5, 270, Cedar Falls, Iowa), outside linebacker Keith Holcombe (6-3, 213, Tuscaloosa), outside linebacker Christian Miller (6-3, 215, Columbia, S.C.), wide receiver Derek Kief (6-5, 195, Cincinnati, Ohio), quarterback David Cornwell (6-5, 230, Norman, Okla.), defensive tackle Johnny Dwight (6-3, 295, Rochelle, Ga.), and two from East Mississippi Community College in Scooba, Miss., defensive end D.J. Pettway (6-3, 255) and Jarran Reed (6-4, 325).
There are four junior college transfers in the class. In addition to Jackson, Pettway, and Reed, the Tide signed three—star tight end Ty Smith (6-3, 245, Georgia Military in Milledgeville).
Pettway is a former Tide player who was dismissed from the team a year ago and who was able to return to the team after completing his junior college work and other stipulations required by The University.
Eight of the signees are enrolled for the spring semester and will go through Bama spring practice. They are Pettway, Reed, Brown, Robinson, Jones, Sims, Cornwell, and three-star linebacker Shaun Hamilton (6-1, 240, Montgomery).
Three-star signees in addition to Ty Flourney-Smith and Hamilton are defensive tackle O.J. Smith (6-2, 320, Bossier City, La.), center Joshua Casher (6-1, 280, Mobile), offensive guard Montel McBride (6-4, 305, Plant City, Fla.), and punter J.K. Scott (6-5, 185, Denver, Colo.).
And, of course, Alabama has added Jacob Coker, a 6-5, 230-pound quarterback from Mobile who is transferring from Florida State. He will enter The University this summer and have two years of eligibility beginning in the fall. He can reasonably be considered the nation’s number one prospect.
In the latest Scout.com compilations, Alabama was a runaway winner for the nation’s best recruiting class with 26 signees (Coker not included) for 5,222 points. FSU was second with 30 signees for 4,470 points. The Southeastern Conference had six of the top 10 recruiting classes with LSU third, Tennessee fourth, Texas A&M seventh, Auburn eighth, and Florida ninth.
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