Five quick hits from Alabama’s National Signing Day press conference.
1. It’s finally over. National Signing Day, one of the most anticipated days of the year in college football, is over and Alabama has another top-rated class in the books.
The Crimson Tide are ranked as the nation’s third-best class by Scout, but head coach Nick Saban doesn’t like discussing how this group ranks or how he thinks they’ll fare in the future.
“I think it’s hard to make predictions about the guys you recruited today and where they’ll be two or three years from now,” he said. “We certainly like the guys that we got. They’ve shown a lot of potential to this point. We feel like we have a really good character class, which is important to us, and we got a lot of guys who are the size and speed we want to play the positions we recruited them for.
“But this class is not about rankings that really can’t get verified any way in the future. Just like when you buy a stock, you cant really verify where it’s going to be two years from now.”
Later he added what was definitely the best quote of the day.
“Just because you pick the puppy dog with the biggest feet doesn’t mean it’s going to grow up to be the biggest or best hunting dog,” he said. “That’s as simple as what I learned in West Virginia when I was little.”
2. Despite losing Eddie Lacy to the NFL Draft, Alabama is poised to have another lethal backfield next year. The Tide returns T.J. Yeldon, Jalston Fowler, Dee Hart and Kenyan Drake and just signed four more running backs in its 2013 class.
Four-stars Altee Tenpenny, Tyren Jones, Alvin Kamara and five-star Derrick Henry all signed with the Tide Wednesday.
“I don’t really see how we have a stacked group at running back,” Saban said, scoffing at a question regarding the talent at the position. “We have one guy coming back that gained 1,000 yards. We have another guy who carried the ball a few times as a freshman, and two guys that got hurt, that may or may not be able to come back and play that position well.
“To me, to have really good depth at running back, you need five really good players. Three guys usually play a lot. Several of these guys we recruited are going to have lots of opportunity to contribute this year.”
3. Out of the 25 players that committed to Alabama, only seven are from the state. The group hails from 13 different states including Alabama (7), Georgia (3), Florida (2), Louisiana (2), Tennessee (2), Texas (2), Arkansas, California, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Utah and Virginia.
Saban discussed the importance of looking around the country for the top players.
“Our best opportunity to land good players is probably going to come within a five-hour radius of here,” Saban said. “But we’re still going to be able to get guys from other places because they’re attracted to our conference, they’re attracted to the competition we have here at the University of Alabama, the kind of games we play in, the kind of success we’ve had, the opportunity they have academically and for personal development.
“I think if you had to do all this by getting out in a car and running around like I used to when I recruited, you could never figure out who the best players in Oklahoma or Nebraska or California or any place far away would be. But now with so much information, it's not so hard to identify.”
4. Five-star linebacker Reuben Foster was one of the hotter storylines of this class. Originally committed to Alabama, Foster flipped to Auburn, got an AU tattoo on his arm, then de-committed from the Tigers and just this week announced his re-commitment to the Tide.
When he signed his letter of intent Wednesday, he donned an Alabama vest and a straw hat, a la his new head coach. Later in the day, he took to Twitter to apologize to the Alabama, Auburn and Georgia fan bases for how he handled his recruitment.
Saban was asked about the Foster saga.
“I think that he really felt bad in some ways maybe by the way he handled his recruiting,” Saban said. “I think Reuben came here because he wanted the structure, he wants to get it right, he wants to do things the right way and we want to help him do that. I think he's got the right heart and right character to do it.
“I would hate to think how I would have managed the attention that he got and a lot of these young people get when I was 17 or 18 years old. I don't know if I would have been nearly mature enough to be able to manage it the way sometimes people would expect it to be managed.”
5. Saban said that he wasn’t worried heading into signing day because he was confident all his commits would sign, and they did. There wasn’t any drama. In fact, Saban spent the day working on the 2014 class.
“I think we’re all relieved when it finally gets done, but I spend a lot of time always on signing day starting on next year’s recruiting,” he said.
Extra point: Saban was asked if this class is finished. His response: “It may or may not be.
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