football Edit

Five-stars that did and did not live up to the hype under Nick Saban

There are numerous former five-stars still on the Alabama roster, many in the NFL and some that never made it. Here is a look at a handful of the five-stars during coach Nick Saban’s tenure in Tuscaloosa that panned out the most and a look at some who didn’t as well.

Rivals rankings are based on college performance and NFL Draft status (not NFL performance) and so these lists reflect those standards:

MORE ON SABAN'S RETIREMENT: Which coaches should Bama be calling soon? | Which 2024 prospects will be critical for the next Bama coach to keep? | Five-stars that did and didn't live up to expectations under Saban at Bama | Who's next at Alabama? | Legend retires | Tough shoes to fill on and off field | Hidden gems of Saban's recruiting classes



Bryce Young
Bryce Young (© Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports)

The only No. 1 overall pick in Saban’s tenure, Young finished as the No. 2 overall prospect in the 2020 class and picked Alabama after a lengthy commitment to USC. Young won a national title and finished with more than 8,000 passing yards and 80 touchdowns before being the No. 1 pick of the Carolina Panthers where he started this season.


Will Anderson
Will Anderson (© Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports)

The Hampton (Ga.) Dutchtown defensive end became a five-star in the last rankings release after totally dominating the All-American Bowl and using his brute physical force to win at the line of scrimmage. Anderson then took his talents to Tuscaloosa where he finished with 204 tackles and 34.5 sacks before being the third overall pick of the Houston Texans.


Trent Richardson
Trent Richardson (© Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports)

Based on his NFL career, Richardson should not be this high but considering he was a five-star running back who had a great career with the Crimson Tide and then was drafted third overall, he deserves to be on this list. The Pensacola (Fla.) Escambia standout was ranked sixth nationally in the 2009 class, rushed for 3,130 yards and 35 touchdowns in three years at Alabama and was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the 2012 draft.


Julio Jones
Julio Jones (© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Is there a more iconic receiver for the Saban era than Jones? The No. 4 prospect in the 2008 class out of Foley, Ala., Jones caught 179 passes for 2,653 yards and 15 touchdowns during three seasons with the Crimson Tide before becoming the sixth overall pick in the 2011 draft. Jones is still playing in the league and has more than 13,700 receiving yards in the pros.


Jaylen Waddle
Jaylen Waddle (© Knoxville News Sentinel-USA TODAY Sports)

One of the fastest receivers in recent memory, Waddle earned his fifth star after blowing by everybody at the All-American Bowl. He then went to Alabama where he caught 106 passes for 1,999 yards and 17 TDs in three seasons before being picked sixth overall in the 2021 draft. He and Tyreek Hill have formed the fastest receiver duo in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins.



Antonio Alfano
Antonio Alfano (© Mickey Welsh / Advertiser)

Alfano had so much promise coming out as a five-star in the 2019 class: Big, tough, physical, mean, wanted to be good, played recklessly. But things never panned out for him at Alabama and after bouncing around - and taking some time away from football - the former five-star is at Scranton (Pa.) Lackawanna College looking for a new home.


Ben Davis
Ben Davis (© Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

A story could not have been written better for Davis to succeed with the Crimson Tide. He is a legacy there, he was a star linebacker and tackling machine and at 6-foot-4 and 236 pounds, Davis looked like the next big thing for Saban. But something never clicked there and after being ranked fifth nationally in the 2016 class, Davis never made a major impact with the Tide.


Trey Sanders
Trey Sanders (© Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)

Following a long line of elite running backs, Sanders looked like the next big one in Tuscaloosa. He was ranked third overall in the 2019 class, he was a dynamic and powerful running back who was unstoppable at times and it appeared he would be one of the many running back stars under Saban. But Sanders suffered two injuries early in his career and was never the same and then transferred to TCU.


Jeremiah Alexander

Antonio Alfano

Jonathan Allen

Aaron Anderson

William Anderson

Eyabi Anoma

Elliot Baker

Charles Baldwin

Chris Braswell

Tommy Brockermeyer

Tony Brown

Isaiah Buggs

Jihaad Campbell

Hasean Clinton-Dix

Landon Collins

Ben Davis

Caleb Downs

Rashaan Evans

Minkah Fitzpatrick

D.J. Fluker

Reuben Foster

Terrell Hall

Da’Shawn Hand

Damien Harris

Najee Harris

Demetrius Hart

OJ Howard

Marlon Humphrey

Jerry Jeudy

Nico Johnson

Julio Jones

Keon Keeley

Demouy Kennedy

Dre Kirkpatrick

Cyrus Kouandjio

JC Latham

Alex Leatherwood

Tyler Love

Ga’Quincy McKinstry

DeMarcus Milliner

Dylan Moses

Evan Neal

Daron Payne

Yhonzae Pierre

Kadyn Proctor

Elijah Pritchett

Trent Richardson

Desmond Ricks

Calvin Ridley

A’Shawn Robinson

Cameron Robinson

Trey Sanders

Julian Sayin

Bo Scarbrough

Burton Scott

Patrick Surtain

Dallas Turner

Jaylen Waddle

Camar Wheaton

Eddie Williams

Jonah Williams

Jedrick Wills

Lyndell Wilson

T.J. Yeldon

Bryce Young