Alabama Football: How Nick Saban could change recruiting again

Gary Cosby-USA TODAY Sports
Gary Cosby-USA TODAY Sports /

For more than a decade, Nick Saban has orchestrated an Alabama Football dominance in recruiting. With nine No. 1 signing classes in 11 recruiting cycles going back to 2011, Saban has filled Alabama Crimson Tide rosters with elite talent.

When the 2018 class dipped to No. 5 in the 247Sports Composite, the national buzz was Saban had lost his recruiting edge to younger, fast-rising coaches. The three recruiting classes since disproved that nonsense.

With campus visits and camps about to explode in June, the Alabama Football list of 2022 verbal commits is expected to soar. The Crimson Tide’s current six verbals give Nick Saban only the No. 17 class for 2022. Undeterred, Saban has been characteristically patient.

Even if Nick Saban and Alabama Football double the count of verbal commits this summer, the Tide might not match the top classes in the 247Sports Composite Team Rankings. Currently, the top four classes are Georgia, Ohio State, LSU and Notre Dame. The Bengal Tigers and the Fighting Irish each have 13 verbals. The Bulldogs and the Buckeyes each have 12. If those four teams gain a few commits each this summer, they will likely continue at the top of the Team Rankings.

For Alabama Football and Nick Saban, it might not matter

Before the current immediate transfer eligibility, coaches were already improving rosters through transfers. Players leaving a program and being replaced by better players helps many teams. Before transferring became easy, teams needing the most talent infusion had the most to gain. In the new transfer world, elite programs get to cherry-pick transfers to fill specific, immediate roster needs. Some top teams, and particularly the Crimson Tide can lose more than twice the number of transfers gained and make its roster better in the process.

As good as Nick Saban and his Alabama Football staff are at assessing high school talent, there are misses. Even highly coveted 5-star recruits sometimes end up far less than was expected. A transfer, with a year or two of college playing experience, is often a far better bet than an unproven high school player.

Nick Saban can consistently bring in top transfers at specific positions of need. This new, almost free agency, could mean having the No. 1 class of high school players matters less. If so, Nick Saban might choose smaller high school classes to leave room for more transfers.

Next. Saban's Impact on Other Coaches. dark

Other coaches are already worried Saban will dominate the Transfer Portal as he has dominated high school, signing classes.