Coming on the heels of a 2008 signing class that consisted of future first rounders like Julio Jones, Marcel Dareus, and Mark Ingram among others, it was natural to expect for there to be some sort of dip in Alabama’s 2009 recruiting class. Not surprisingly, there was a bit of a drop off, but nearly as much as might be expected, especially when the quality of the 2008 class, which is considered among the best in college history, is taken into account.
Richardson was a Heisman finalist and Doak Walker Award winner in 2011.
The 2009 group consisted of 27 signees with Quinton Dial failing to qualify out of high school but coming back two years later in addition to eight signees who are no longer enrolled at Alabama. The class was ranked No. 1 overall in the country giving Nick Saban back-to-back top classes and the foundation for the 2012 team’s success.
The class was led by Trent Richardson, who arrived on campus with much fanfare and would leave the Capstone with even more hardware. To this point, the 2009 class has already produced three first round NFL draft picks and with several more top NFL prospects on the roster including Chance Warmack, who is the nation’s No. 1 ranked interior lineman.
With well over three years gone since 2009’s national signing day,
BamaOnline takes a look back at the Nick Saban’s third recruiting class at Alabama and re-ranks its members based on their contributions and accomplishments at the Capstone.
1-Trent Richardson, original ranking-1 (247Composite ranking- #6 nationally, #2 RB)-Richardson was an instrumental cog on two Alabama national championship teams and will go down as one of the best ever to play at the Capstone. In his final year at Alabama, he rushed for 1,679 yards and 21 touchdowns while catching 29 balls for 338 yards and 3 touchdowns, winning the Doak Walker award and finishing third in Heisman trophy voting. Richardson was drafted by the Cleveland Browns with the third pick in the 2012 draft.
2-AJ McCarron, original ranking-5 (247Composite ranking- #81 nationally, #7 pro-style QB)-McCarron led Alabama to a national championship in his first year as starter. He is 21-2 as starter midway through his junior year. To this point in the 2012 season, McCarron is among the most efficient passers in the nation with a QB rating of 168.2 with 20 TD’s and 2 interceptions and is already heavily associated with the Crimson Tide’s instant classic comeback victory over LSU after leading the game-winning drive.
3-Chance Warmack, original ranking-21 (247Composite ranking- #362 nationally, #21 OG)-Warmack is a three year starter and is considered the No. 1 interior lineman going into the 2013 draft with some saying he is the best offensive guard prospect in several years. A pre-season all-American who will figure heavily in the post season awards conversation.
4-Dre Kirkpatrick, original ranking-2 (247Composite ranking- #13 nationally, #1 CB)-Kirkpatrick was a two-year starter and was also a special teams standout as a true freshman. He saved some of his best performances for the most important games of his career and was named a second team AP all-American in 2011. Kirkpatrick was selected No. 17 overall in the 2012 draft by the Cincinnati Bengals.
5-James Carpenter, original ranking-13 (247Composite ranking- #4 JUCO prospect)-The JUCO all-American took over for Andre Smith and locked down the starting left tackle spot for two seasons before heading to the NFL where the Seattle Seahawks drafted him No. 25 overall in 2011.
McCarron is 21-2 in two years as a starter at Alabama.
6-D.J. Fluker, original ranking-4 (247Composite ranking- #28 nationally, #2 OT)-Fluker arrived at the Capstone with high expectations as one of the top-ranked prospects in the nation and has lived up to them with this year being his 3rd as a starter at right tackle. Fluker has one more year of eligibility left after this season and is expected to be a mid-round pick in the NFL draft at the minimum.
7-Eddie Lacy, original ranking-8 (247Composite ranking- #124 nationally, #14 RB)-Lacy had to wait his turn behind Richardson and Mark Ingram, but midway through his junior season has taken over the leadership role of the running back corps. Despite being dinged early, he has rushed for 771 yards and nine touchdowns on the season, including a career high 177 yards and 3 touchdowns against Missouri.
8-Nico Johnson, original ranking-3 (247Composite ranking- #17 nationally, #3 ILB)-The Andalusia native is in his 2nd year as a full-time starter and has amassed 29 assisted tackles and 11 solos midway through his senior season.
9-Anthony Steen, original ranking-22 (247Composite ranking- #366 nationally, #23 OG)-Steen is very similar to Warmack in that both arrived at Alabama with little fanfare but have turned in terrific careers. Steen is in his 2nd year as a starter at right guard but also played in 2010 when Barrett Jones was injured. He has one year of eligibility remaining after this season.
10- Ed Stinson, original ranking-18 (247Composite ranking- #335 nationally, #16 strongside DE)- Stinson is having his best year to date in that he’s a starter and is among UA’s sack leaders with three and tackles for loss with 7.5. He has 24 total tackles on the year. The South Florida native is capable of playing every down, has improved each season, and is only a junior.
11-Kenny Bell, original ranking-15 (247Composite ranking- #261 nationally, #33 WR)- Bell is in the same boat as fellow wide receiver Norwood and is making the most of his junior season serving as big-play target for McCarron. Bell is averaging a whopping 25.5 yards per catch including scores of 85, 57, and 39 yards. He is currently the team's second leading receiver with 15 catches for 382 yards and three touchdowns.
12-Kevin Norwood, original ranking-17 (247Composite ranking- #309 nationally, #39 WR)- Norwood had to wait his turn but had a breakout performance against LSU in the national championship game. This year, he has cemented his status in Crimson Tide lore with his three catches on Alabama’s game-winning drive over the Tigers. He is Alabama’s third leading receiver 21 receptions for 330 yards and two touchdowns to date.
13-Darrington Sentimore, original ranking-11 (247Composite ranking- #191 nationally, #15 DT)- After leaving Alabama, Sentimore had a stint in JUCO before transferring to Tennessee where he is a starter and leads the Volunteers in sacks and has the second most tackles for loss.
Warmack has been one of the driving forces behind UA's dominant run game in recent years.
14-Brandon Moore, original ranking-12 (247Composite ranking- #215 nationally, #19 DT)- Like Sentimore, Moore left Alabama for a JUCO and landed as a starter for Texas this season, despite slowed by injury lately. Moore has has 13 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and 2 sacks on the season.
15-Tana Patrick, original ranking-6 (247Composite ranking- #88 nationally, #6 ILB)- Patrick has been a special teams impact player this season while seeing time at linebacker in a back-up role. He has totaled six assisted tackles and four solo stops this season.
16- Kellen Williams, original ranking-25 (247Composite ranking- #374 nationally, #25 OG)-Williams has seen snaps as a back-up offensive lineman.
17-Jonathan Atchinson, original ranking-21 (247Composite ranking- #358 nationally, #23 OLB )-Saw time as a redshirt freshman in 2010, but has yet to make a significant impact since.
18-Anthony Orr, original ranking-24 (247Composite ranking- #371 nationally, #19 SDE)-Yet to make an impact.
19-Chris Bonds, original ranking-19 (247Compostie ranking- #357 nationally, #18 SDE)-Yet to make an impact.
20-William Ming, original ranking-14 (247Composite ranking- #228 nationally,, #12 SDE)-Yet to make an impact.
Best Impact Signee for 2012 season: Where would Alabama be right now without AJ McCarron? That’s hard to say exactly, but they would not ranked No. 1 in the country. After guiding UA to a national championship in 2011, McCarron is again in charge of the one of the nation’s best and was in the Heisman conversation for a few weeks.
Best Offensive Signee: Most people looking at the UA signing class of 2009 would have laid money on Trent Richardson being the most likely prospect among that group of being selected by an NFL team at the end of his college career and would have been correct. Richardson entered college looking like an NFL running back and after three years in Tuscaloosa the Cleveland Browns had seen enough to take him 3rd overall in the 2012 draft. Through nine games with the Browns, Richardson has rushed for 575 yards and 5 touchdowns, while hauling in 31 catches for 240 yards and a score.
Best Defensive Signee: The 2009 group was heavy on offensive star power at the top but Dre Kirkpatrick is an easy call on defense. Kirkpatrick brought a certain swagger to Tusclaoosa from the moment he signed with the Tide and locked down his side of the field for two years before turning a terrific college career into an NFL future, becoming a 1st round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2012.
Best Evaluation: The 247Composite ranking for Chance Warmack had the all-American ranked a lowly 21st among the Tide’s signees. All Warmack has done is start for three years on the best offensive line in college football and establish himself as the nation’s top interior offensive line target heading into the 2013 draft. Not bad for a guy with only a few offers.
Biggest Miss: This class had only Dre Kirkpatrick come in as an impact defensive back, but Nick Saban battled with South Carolina for the signature of Stephon Gilmore for most of the recruiting process. Gilmore would go on to ink with the in-state Gamecocks and had a very good three year career in Columbia. He is now a starter for the Buffalo Bills after being drafted with the tenth pick in the 2012 draft.
Biggest Overacheiver: Anthony Steen received little publicity as a recruit coming from a small private school in Mississippi and not being heavily recruited by the in-state schools. Steen has vastly exceeded expectations and has come into his own as the starting right guard on the Crimson Tide’s heralded offensive line.
Biggest Disappointment: The hard-hitting Rod Woodson was the only safety Alabama signed in the 2009 class and looked to have the makings of a future contributor. The Olive Branch, Mississippi product left Alabama prior to fall camp in 2010 and continued his football career at North Alabama.