National Signing Day 2015: Alabama Crimson Tide to have #1 Recruiting Class Again…Barely.


With National Signing Day quickly coming into view for College Football this week, it’s time to bring out the hats for some top ranked recruits. Simulcasting out into the stratosphere is the dreaded Hat Game that so many 5 Star recruits love to play up on. Isn’t it enough that you get your whole high school out on assembly for this occasion just so the entire nation can watch you pick between 3 hats sitting on a table? Who has the bevy of 5 Stars coming onto a campus near you? Which collegiate team consistently reloads instead of rebuilds based on their recruiting class? Where is it ‘National Championship or Bust?’ Why it’s the Alabama Crimson Tide of course. It’s no big surprise that Alabama is headed into National Signing Day as the top rated recruiting class, but have they lost a bit of their edge when it comes to getting 5 star talent like in previous years? Do the Crimson Tide have the best recruiting class based on how many 4 star talent they have coming to Tuscaloosa instead of the what is desired at the 5 star positions?

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The #1 ranked player in this year’s recruiting class, according to ESPN 150 is Defensive End Byron Cowart, who will decide between Auburn and Florida on Wednesday morning. Alabama has a couple of 5 stars already committed in QB Blake Barnett, who’s already enrolled, and CB Kendall Sheffield, who the Tide snatched from Texas A&M in early January. So who out of ESPN’s 300 did Alabama get commits from, and who is still undecided come Wednesday? The 4 stars committed are WR Calvin Ridley (23rd in ESPN 300) from Coconut Creek FL, who at 6’1″ 170 looks to be a slot wide out with punishing speed that once in the weight room, could pick up where Amare Cooper left off. CB Minkah Fitzpatrick (27th) had offers from Florida State and even paid them a visit in late October, but committed to the Tide in November. At 6’1″ 195 and hailing from Jersey City, New Jersey, Fitzpatrick fills a much needed role in the Bama secondary. At 5’10” and 204 pounds, RB Damien Harris (36th) could use some time at the weights and the chow line to get up to the 230 range that Nick Saban likes in a Tide running back, ala Eddie Lacy and Mark Ingram. With Alabama still loaded at that position, expect Harris to redshirt to get to that desired position. Finally, Saban didn’t have to go far (Birmingham, Alabama) to find a 6’3″ 350 pound Defensive Tackle in Da’Ron Payne, (48th) who had offers from Auburn, Florida State, and Clemson but committed to Bama in early January.

So who is left to sign? Who’s undecided that Alabama could come in and swoop in on? 5 star DE CeCe Jefferson comes to mind. Currently the 9th overall player in the 300, Jefferson is listed at 6’3″ 248 and has Ole Miss and Alabama visits in October and an Auburn visit earlier in January, with a late LSU visit on January 30th. Saban even sent OC Lane Kiffin, along with Kirby Smith to try to swing the Tide Jefferson’s way. Will it be enough? If Alabama can get another 5 star it’ll prove that Tide still have the ability to stay aloft in the recruiting wars, but don’t look past the talent already onboard, even if the likes of Auburn, Florida, and Florida State are nipping at the Tide’s recruiting heels for years to come…

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