football Edit

Alabama wins 2017 team rankings title


NSD 2017: Team Rankings | NSD Blog


This story has been written before. Plenty of times.

Alabama continues to dominate recruiting. The Crimson Tide won its eighth Rivals.com recruiting rankings title in the last 10 years, closing with four-star defensive end LaBryan Ray and four-star receivers Devonta Smith and Henry Ruggs.

The Crimson Tide seem unstoppable.

“This is an unprecedented dynasty,” Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell said. “I don’t think even going back in the annals of college football history we’ve seen anything like this when it comes to recruiting domination year to year.

“USC had a nice run, Florida had a nice run, but Alabama since 2008 has just taken over recruiting. Somebody asked me today if I was impressed with Alabama’s class and I said no. I expect it. That’s just the way they are now.”

It was a rather humdrum day for Alabama since coach Nick Saban and his staff did almost all of their work leading up to signing day with 12 early enrollees. led by five-star running back and No. 1 overall prospect Najee Harris out of Antioch, Calif., who's already on campus.

Ray was expected. Ruggs was expected. Smith was strongly considering LSU and Miami, but these days Alabama seems to get what it wants.

On signing day eve, Alabama got significant news when four-star defensive tackle Phidarian Mathis from Monroe (La.) Neville selected the Crimson Tide over LSU. That was a significant one since Alabama looks to reload on the defensive line.

Finishing with seven five-star prospects, the Crimson Tide signed the Nos. 1, 4, 19, 25 and 32 prospects nationally in Harris, OL Alex Leatherwood, WR Jerry Jeudy, OL Jedrick Wills and LB Dylan Moses and added five-star JUCOs Elliot Baker, an offensive lineman, and DE Isaiah Buggs.

The seven five-stars the Crimson Tide signed are the second-most ever by any program in Rivals.com history, behind only USC getting eight five-stars in its 2004 class.

Najee Harris is one of seven five-star recruits in Alabama's class

Alabama is such a coveted destination that four-star defensive end Jarez Parks from Sebastian (Fla.) Sebastian River decided to take a grayshirt opportunity from the Crimson Tide instead of picking another school early on signing day. Parks is ranked No. 118 nationally.

It’s that good in Tuscaloosa.

“Four national championships and everybody wants to win and they know they’re going to compete for a national championship every year there,” Farrell said. “That’s the standard, competing for a title. It’s not winning 10 games or winning the division. It’s winning national championships. It’s also the NFL stuff. Alabama has a great draft class every year.”

Alabama’s class was this loaded: Ohio State’s second-ranked class was good enough with 3,078 points to finish atop the rankings if this was last recruiting cycle. Georgia, Michigan and Florida State round out the top five, but there’s a possibility that could change later in the day as USC continues to load up.

This is only the second time in Rivals.com history dating back to 2002 that two teams finished with more than 3,000 points. It also happened in 2015 when USC beat Alabama for the recruiting title.

Losing assistant coaches Mario Cristobal (Oregon) and Billy Napier (Arizona State) didn’t matter much, either, as Alabama just kept rolling with standout commitments.

“It shows how great of a recruiter Nick Saban is in terms of bringing in top players regardless of signing five-stars year after year at almost every position,” TideSports.com editor Andrew Bone said. “He did a great job signing players from coast-to-coast including California, Hawaii and Florida, especially with the loss of two key recruiting coaches.

“Players see freshmen are on the field competing and playing a significant role every year in Tuscaloosa. Saban has shown regardless of age he’s going to play the best players and a lot of these kids see that. A lot of these kids also see players leave Tuscaloosa three years down the road and go to the NFL. That opens up some space and some doors for players to get on the field early.”