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The Quad: View From Alabama: Top Team Has Top Recruiting Class
2012-02-06 18:31:00.219 GMT
By MARQUAVIUS BURNETT
Feb. 6 (New York Times) -- The Alabama Crimson Tide ended the 2011 season as the B.C.S. national champion, and on national signing day their success continued by securing the No. 1-ranked recruiting class, according to ESPNU and Rivals.com.
Coach Nick Saban announced Wednesday that 18 student-athletes signed national letters of intent to play football with the Crimson Tide, joining eight players who enrolled in January.
The 26 players come from eight states - Alabama (8), Georgia (8), Florida (4), Louisiana (2), Maryland (1), Tennessee (1), Texas (1) and Virginia (1).
"Our coaching staff did a fabulous job, not only in recruiting these guys but the evaluation process that is always critical, especially early on to decide who the people are that can be successful in your program," Saban said.
Alabama filled a number of holes left by players graduating and leaving early for the N.F.L. draft. The biggest losses came on defense, where the Tide lost the all-Americans Courtney Upshaw, Dont'a Hightower, Mark Barron and Dre Kirkpatrick. The Tide is bringing in five defensive linemen, five linebackers and four defensive backs.
"Even though we have some good defensive players here, we felt that it was really important to have a really good year on the defensive side of the ball," Saban said.
The prize recruit from this year's class is safety Landon Collins. Collins is a consensus five-star prospect out of Geismar, La., who turned down in-state L.S.U. for the Tide. At 6-foot-0, 202 pounds, Collins projects well in Saban's system. He is a defensive back who can deliver big hits and has a knack for getting to the football.
"We feel like Landon Collins is an outstanding player,"
Saban said. "He's a fine young man who was in our campus the last couple years. He has leadership qualities, he's a great competitor, he's a good student, he's a very bright young guy who I feel is going to be very successful here."
On offense, the departure of the all-American running back Trent Richardson provides more opportunities for other backs.
With other skill players like wide receiver Marquis Maze and tight end Brad Smelley graduating, it gives younger players opportunities for playing time early in their careers. Saban said offense was a top priority for the Tide; recruits include Eddie Williams, Amari Cooper and T. J. Yeldon.
"We started out with a goal of explosive players on offense, running back and receiver, those kinds of guys," Saban said. "We felt good about the guys we were able to attract from that standpoint."
The recent success of the program has made Alabama an even more attractive place for recruits. Wide receiver Cooper, who enrolled in January, said the winning helped make his decision easy.
"I just wanted to win," Cooper said. "I wanted to be a part of a great program and a great team. I thought this team presented the best opportunity of winning."
Defensive back Travell Dixon said he chose the Tide because of the team's recent history of putting defensive players in the N.F.L.
"I see myself going that way one day," Dixon said. "I feel like that was a big boost, seeing Barron and Kirkpatrick. I feel like if they can do it, I can do it as well."
Marquavius Burnett is the assistant sports editor of The Crimson White, the University of Alabama's student newspaper.
Copyright 2012 The New York Times Company
-0- Feb/06/2012 18:31 GMT
So is the guy who wrote this still a student? If so, having an article published in the nyt can't be a bad way to stay a career.
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