Another signing day came and went (yes, there are two more and another later) and again Nick Saban took the rest of college football to school. Anyone injecting, but Alabama Football did not have the No. 1 class, best cast that objection aside.
As a point of introduction to what follows below, Consider an image.
There is a similarity in that photo, having nothing to do with the same colored attire. It is the three guys who currently are the best recruiters in college football. The photo also shows Nick Saban and a small part of his coaching tree. Everybody else is playing catch up – and failing.
For Alabama football fans most of Wednesday was an unsurprising joy. Signing documents poured into Tuscaloosa pretty much as expected. Nick Saban loaded up again.
Much of the national buzz was about college football free agency and the apparently unlimited horizon of NIL deals, unfettered by NCAA interest or constraints. Saban was asked about the NIL impact. He did not have much to say. He had already moved on.
In fairness, the idea of this post kept kicking around my mind throughout the day. Then, Wednesday night, a tweet from the SEC Network’s Peter Burns put the thoughts into focus.
Burns nailed it. The college version of free agency could have been added to the list for even more accuracy. As college football has evolved, Saban keeps asking everyone else, is this what is wanted. He already knows what he wants. He seems to also know in advance, the game will change in ways he would not choose. But instead of dwelling on how much he disdains the changes, he goes to work. To assure continued success he re-works or tweaks his plan, and moves, always forward.
Those who don’t perceive Saban as a demon sorcerer are forced to acknowledge the man has a wizard-like ability to see into the future. From that vision, he goes about making the most of that future. And that is why he is the greatest college football coach of all time. Maybe the greatest of all time in any sport.
It is obvious Nick Saban is not fond of free agency in college athletics. He will, however, beat everybody else with it.
When the 2022 roster rebuild is over, Saban will have improved his team to the best overall group of players – again. He did it last season with a strong recruiting class and two transfer starters in Henry To’o To’o and Jameson Williams. Maybe Jimbo Fisher had a slightly stronger group of recruits sign on Wednesday, but as Saban showed Wednesday night, high school recruits are just part of building another Alabama Football championship roster.
Alabama Football added another top, proven player
On Wednesday night, LSU transfer cornerback, Eli Ricks announced his move to Tuscaloosa. Ricks is so good, he is expected to start next season’s opener. No one should be surprised if Saban later adds Georgia Tech running back Jahmyr Gibbs and LSU wide receiver Kayshon Boutte.
As Peter Burns implied, no change in college football is too great; not just for Saban to figure out, but to master.