Alabama Football: Who wins the 2021 5-Star recruit chase

Alabama Football: The 2021 signing class could become a 5-Star jackpot.

Alabama football is about much more than attracting 5-Star recruits. Rosters must be adjusted every recruiting cycle to have the skill sets needed at certain position groups. Running backs might be a high priority one year and much less so in another year. Even if one program so dominated recruiting that it signed half of each cycle’s 5-Stars – that alone would not provide a championship roster.

Arguably more important than loading up on 5-Stars is getting the right 4-Star and 3-Star recruits Recruits with less raw talent but who fit a team’s system and style. Unlike Alabama football, there are many FBS schools forced to build rosters with a few 4-Stars and lots of 3-Stars and 2-Stars, going all the way down to unrated players. A couple of years ago we discussed seven 0-Star recruits who became great Crimson Tide players.

The preceding two paragraphs were not intended to diminish the value of 5-Star recruits. They can become game-changers. In some cases, they can also become distractions, damaging team chemistry. No coach wants a problematic 5-Star taking a roster shot away from a gifted 4-Star.

As fans, we rarely know recruits. We cannot attest to their character and determination. We watch high school or showcase videos and conclude certain ones have ‘beast’ potential. We are often wrong. Even coaching professionals can be wrong in evaluating players.

This year is much harder for the Alabama football staff and their counterparts in the Power Five conferences. Historically, most Alabama football recruits had to perform at a team camp before receiving an offer. The Alabama football staff cares nothing about stars assigned by rating services. They want to see prospects compete against players of comparable talent.

As fans, we care about recruiting stars considerably. It is the best way we can track the most players while also deep-diving into videos of some select players. Plus the chase for the No. 1 class and what teams sign the most 5-Stars is fun.

Alabama Football: 2021 Class, 5-Star Hunt

All the ratings to follow are provided by the 247Sports Composite. The final number of 2021 class 5-Stars is structured to follow the 32, first-rounders in each year’s NFL Draft. Currently, the Composite has 30, 5-Star prospects. Fifteen of the 30 have verbally committed to a school. Adding the other 15 elite players, based on which school leads, and the 30 elite players may sign with just 15 FBS programs.

The Ohio State Buckeyes are outpacing all others with four 5-Star commits. The Alabama Crimson Tide is next with two.  Having a single 5-Star commit are Georgia, Clemson, Tennessee, Michigan, North Carolina, Washington, Texas, Oklahoma and Oregon.

After adding the presumed leaders for the 15 still to commit, the breakdown changes. Ohio State appears to be on track to sign six 5-Star recruits. Close behind with five is the Crimson Tide. Georgia is projected to end up with four. Clemson, Oklahoma and Florida are projected to finish with two, 5-Stars. Projected to gain one each are LSU, Washington, Penn State, Michigan, Texas, Oregon, North Carolina, Tennessee and Southern Cal.

Some close followers of Alabama football recruiting think the Tide will match the Buckeyes with six 5-Stars. Would that make the 2021 class the Tide’s best ever? In terms of just 5-Stars, six in the 2021 class would equal the 2013 class.

247Sports is not bullish on 5-Star, Quincey McKinstry to the Tide. A counter opinion I gladly endorse is “Kool-Aid’ is a near-lock.