Alabama Football: Could the Tide pass on a 5-Star for a 3-Star?

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Alabama football recruiting often includes a late surprise. This time it could be the Tide coaches opting for a 3-Star defensive back over a 5-Star.

Every recruiting cycle there is a numbers crunch for Alabama football. The 2018 cycle is worse than normal. The coaches want to find room for 10 more players. Even with 10 slots, there will not be room for every top player.

Creating 10 slots would be quite a feat. It will require two grayshirts or blueshirts. Almost every insider believes 3-Star TE, Michael Parker will accept a grayshirt. Other blueshirt or grayshirt options is guesswork. Blueshirts cannot be handed out late when numbers don’t work. They can only be given to players who have not been ‘recruited’ through official campus visits or in-home coach visits.

The mantra among Alabama football fans, almost every insider and most recruiting experts is ‘Nick will make the numbers work.’ So far, in his Alabama football tenure, he has done just that. The 2018 recruiting cycle may end differently. Numbers may cause the Tide to walk away from three or four top players, including even a 5-Star recruit. Even before the Early Signing Period, Alabama football knew it would not have room for some 4-Star recruits. A couple of in-state, 4-Stars, Harold Joiner and Seth Williams were left out of the Tide’s 2018 plans.

Given the scarcity of slots, Alabama football fans may in for a big shock. Alabama football may pick a 3-Star defensive back over two 5-Stars and a 4-Star. The recruiting services do a good job rating players, but they miss on both ends of the recruiting scale. Some 5-Stars are college busts. Every college football season, 3-Star or lower rated players explode to stardom.

Eddie Smith – 3-Star Cornerback (based on 247Sports Composite)

If the Tide decides 3-Star, CB Eddie Smith is a better prospect than higher rated players, Alabama football fans should trust Saban. Included in our post, Alabama 3-Star Greats, are Saban examples: Javier Arenas; Eddie Jackson; Robert Lester; Kevin Norwood; Quinton Dial; Chance Warmack – all 3-Stars who became NFL players. Our full list includes 30, 3-Stars who rose to Crimson Tide stardom.

The Alabama football staff has its own rating system for players. It is based not on ‘stars’ but attributes. The attributes are position specific. It is not quite science, but it is analytical. A decade of Alabama football, recruiting success under Nick Saban is evidence the Tide system works well.

On February 7th, as the last names of the 2018 class come in, don’t be surprised to see 3-Star, CB Eddie Smith. The Tide coaches are very high on Smith. If the names on NSD2, don’t include 5-Stars Tyson Campbell or Isaac Taylor-Stuart or 4-Star Julius Irvin, it may be because there was only room for Eddie Smith.

Next: Nick Saban is not slowing down one bit

It is believed Nick Saban and Burton Burns will visit Eddie Smith Tuesday. Smith lists Tennessee as his favorite but he plans to be in Tuscaloosa this weekend for an official visit.