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Three-Point Stance: Fisher-Saban, A&M-Alabama recruiting, 2024 QBs

Nick Saban
Nick Saban (USA Today Sports Images)

Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney takes one more look at the Nick Saban-Jimbo Fisher drama this week, five recruiting battles between Alabama and Texas A&M and a deeper dive into the 2024 quarterback class:


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The ugly public discourse between Alabama coach Nick Saban and Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher over the last few days was unfortunate, interesting and sometimes even comical.

It was also inevitable.

Name, image and likeness has shattered many recruiting norms and caused consternation among coaching staffs on many levels, one being how to even handle it or what is and isn’t even legal to do but in one area, Saban and Fisher agree: There needs to be federal legislation around this monster.

What’s most interesting is that Fisher and Saban were saying the same things in some ways: Fisher argued that no state laws were broken. Saban argued that no laws were being broken and the NCAA can’t enforce their own rules because of it.

And this is where NIL becomes a dark, gloomy cloud of uncertainty. The proposed intent of NIL was for players already on college teams to make money, not for promises to be made to recruits that if they go to a certain school, this much cash would be delivered through a collective or otherwise.

That is the crux of Saban’s argument: Recruiting inducements and pay-for-play is clearly going on (and I cover recruiting for a living and I can tell you it’s going on without question). Fisher’s argument boils down to Texas A&M has broken no laws and he’s not instructing the collective which recruits to promise money to (but I cover recruiting for a living and it’s clear as day which prospects the Aggies want).

Saban used to complain about hurry-up and spread offenses and asked if this is what we want football to be. He realized that things were heading in that direction and so he adopted the philosophy, implemented elements of that offensive style and won national championships.

The same question will be asked now: Is this what we want recruiting to be? If changes aren’t made, Saban is smart enough to implement measures so Alabama wins in recruiting, too.

Of course NIL played some part in Texas A&M’s historic recruiting class last year and that’s not a bad thing. There are many other reasons why so many elite players picked the Aggies, too. Both can be true.

If Saban and Fisher get their wish, though, - or at least what they’re saying publicly - the government will provide some guardrails as to what’s fair game or not. If that doesn’t happen, if things don’t change, Saban will probably do what he’s done in the past: Identify what he sees as an issue, see that it’s not changing, conform to the new reality and then dominate it.





Eli Holstein
Eli Holstein (Nick Lucero/

As the coaching drama between Saban and Fisher plays out there will also be intriguing storylines in recruiting as well as the Crimson Tide and Aggies battle for many of the same elite prospects. Here is a look at five players who have Alabama and Texas A&M high on the list along with others involved in their recruitments as well:

Eli Holstein: The high four-star quarterback was committed to Texas A&M from June to mid-March but backed off his pledge and now it looks like Alabama and Florida could have the edge in his recruitment but the Crimson Tide probably own the edge right now. Some believe A&M is still in this one and could get him back in the fold but after multiple visits to Tuscaloosa, I have to think Alabama will be tough to beat - unless Arch Manning jumps the gun and commits first.

Tony Mitchell: Mitchell’s recruitment is really interesting because Texas A&M still holds the edge for him right now but Florida is coming on strong, so is Georgia and then Alabama continues to loom large since his Alabaster (Ala.) Thompson teammate Jeremiah Alexander signed there last year and Peter Woods is high on the Crimson Tide now. Could this be a case where the longer this goes the more Mitchell looks closer to home? The Crimson Tide would definitely take him but the Aggies lead right now.

Shelton Sampson: Could it be as easy as Sampson picking LSU like so many other top Louisiana prospects especially since he’s from Baton Rouge? That is certainly possible but Alabama dipped into the state to land five-star Aaron Anderson and high four-star Shazz Preston last recruiting cycle. Sampson also looks like those long, athletic receivers Texas A&M has used over the years and the five-star is supposed to visit both schools along with others.

Hykeem Williams: Texas A&M has emerged as a major contender for Williams but there is also interest in Alabama as both programs have recruited well at the position in recent years. There is also an air of uncertainty to his recruitment as Georgia, Miami and others also remain involved and there could be a long way to go here.



Jadyn Davis
Jadyn Davis (Nick Lucero/

The way it stands now, Jadyn Davis and Julian Sayin are the five-star quarterbacks in the 2024 class followed by DJ Lagway, CJ Carr and Dylan Raiola all in the top 28 nationally which means they all have five-star potential.

After a spring of important camps, 7-on-7 and other events, that list is sure to see some changes as we meet in early June to redo the 2023 and 2024 rankings.

Raiola, who recently committed to Ohio State, will definitely get a close look as a five-star and maybe even the No. 1 quarterback in the class. While he hasn’t done a ton of events, when he has been somewhere he’s been exceptional and has a lot of qualities we look for in the highest-ranked QBs.

Lagway is very interesting because he has the size and arm talent to be incredibly special and then Carr is the not-so-flashy but complete quarterback who can run an offense, make the big plays without the mistakes and lead his team.

But there will be others who will move all around in the rankings. Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei’s Elijah Brown continues to have a great offseason and has loaded up on offers even if he’s physically unassuming. I also saw Michael van Buren from Baltimore (Md.) St. Frances last weekend at the Rivals Camp Series in Philadelphia and while he’s short, he can make all the throws and ball placement is phenomenal.