Grading every position in the Alabama signing class

We took a look at the assessment I made of the 2010 recruiting class a few days ago. Two years from now we’ll see how good the following predictions turn out:

TUSCALOOSA — Every coach in the country will tell you Wednesday’s signing class filled the needs for Alabama’s program moving forward.

Nick Saban was no different. Only his topped nearly every national ranking while filling gaps left by seniors and early entrants to the NFL Draft.

Heisman Trophy finalist Trent Richardson was replaced by Mr. Football T.J. Yeldon. Goodbye Dont’a Hightower, hello Reggie Ragland. Dre Kirkpatrick? How about Geno Smith and Travell Dixon?

And when the top three receivers graduated, Saban found three high school All-Americans — two who enrolled early — to add an explosive element to the offense.

In all 15 of the 26 signees will play defense after losing seven starters.

Top names highlight all three levels with 4-star defensive linemen Dalvin Tomlinon and Korren Kirven opting for the Tide on signing day. Saban still offered his annual disclaimer after topping at least one recruiting ranking for the fourth time at Alabama.

“How adolescents are going to respond two or three years out, nobody can really predict that,” he said.

“We do feel like these young men were recruited here because we felt that they could be successful at this institution and we also know that sometimes programs are judged just on how many games they win.”

Though top-ranked, the Tide didn’t land every target on the list.

Top quarterback prospects Jameis Winston and Gunner Kiel both considered Alabama before signing with Florida State and Notre Dame, respectively.

Besides that, Alabama filled the exact needs it had after winning a second national title in three seasons.

Quarterbacks

B — There’s no immediate concern for a playmaker in this class with AJ McCarron, Phillip Sims, and Phillip Ely back. But every class needs a passer, and Alec Morris was this season’s addition. Like Ely, and Greg McElroy for that matter, Morris comes to Tuscaloosa without a blue-chip reputation, but appears to have the tools necessary for the Alabama offense.

He’s tall, has a big arm and a high football IQ. Morris will also have the benefit of time to develop within the system before he’d need to see the field. Whether or not that time will ever come, as it did for McElroy, is the question for Morris.

Running backs

A — T.J. Yeldon doesn’t have Richardson’s build or running style, but he’ll be in position to play immediately just as his predecessor. Yeldon will have the added benefit of early enrollment as he competes for time with Eddie Lacy, Dee Hart, Jalston Fowler, and Brent Calloway.

Yeldon is known more for his speed than popping pads, which could add a different dimension to the Alabama running game. It’s been all about punishing the defenders since Mark Ingram arrived. Yeldon could just run past them.

And don’t forget Kenyan Drake who’ll arrive in Tuscaloosa this summer.

Click here to read the rest of the grades.


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