The state of Alabama was as loaded with talent this year as at any time in recent memory. The arrival of Nick Saban as Alabama's coach certainly turned the Crimson Tide into a major recruiting force in his first full year on the job.
But as well as Saban closes, those who follow recruiting know it's the assistant coaches who do most of the legwork. And without much debate, Alabama assistant Lance Thompson takes this year's Rivals.com Recruiter of the Year honors.
Thompson was listed as the primary recruiter on these Alabama signees: athlete Mark Barron, defensive end Glenn Harbin, wide receiver Destin Hood, quarterback Star Jackson, wide receiver Julio Jones, defensive back Robert Lester, running back Ivan Matchett, running back Jermaine Preyear and athlete Burton Scott. Thompson was listed as the co-recruiter for linebacker Jerrell Harris.
If you're counting at home, that's 10 commitments, with two five-star players, six four-star players and two three-star players. That's impressive work, especially in the Mobile, Ala., area.
"Well, I think it's important to do a good job recruiting everywhere," Saban said. "Mobile has a lot of fine programs and lot of good athletes and certainly had some outstanding players this year. Lance Thompson did a good job recruiting that area.
"I think Lance did a great job of setting the table and developing a plan for how we would have the best chance to be successful in that area, and I think we all worked hard to try and make it happen. It worked out pretty well for us."
Thompson was the recruiting coordinator for Saban at LSU from 2002-2003, then was the defensive coordinator at UCF from 2004-2006.
He rejoined his mentor at Alabama and clearly knows what Saban expects. Alabama signed 32 players in 2008, finishing with the No. 1 recruiting class in the country. Jones, the nation's No. 1 wide receiver, was the commitment who put the Tide over the top.
"I appreciate this recognition from Rivals, but it should really go to our entire staff and to the University of Alabama," Thompson said. "Everything we do here is about family and that is what you heard when you listened to our signees yesterday at their press conferences.
"Alabama's family atmosphere, coaching staff, players and tradition make this a very special place."
Other top assistants who had stellar recruiting years include Notre Dame's Corwin Brown, USC's Pat Ruel, Miami's Clint Hurtt and Michael Barrow and Florida State's Jimbo Fisher.
The List: Rivals.com's Top 25 recruiters for 2008Click Brown is listed with 11 Notre Dame commitments. Ruel mainly was responsible for the great offensive line haul for USC, as well as cornerback T.J. Bryant. Hurtt and Barrow combined for 14 signees for the Hurricanes, and Fisher brought in quarterback E.J. Manuel and tight end Jabaris Little and assisted on linebacker Nigel Bradham and athlete Jarmon Fortson.Here to view this Link.