Why Alabama? Real Question: Why Not?
Alabama Coach Nick Saban has changed that. NFL first round draft choice potential trumps early playing time.
In that long ago time, another important item in the criteria considered by prospects was the likelihood of the team being on television. The Crimson Tide has always been among the favorites of the networks, ranking second only to Notre Dame in TV appearances. Now, though, it is rare when a game is not televised. For instance, every Southeastern Conference game is televised.
The other criteria probably continue to be important. Those include facilities, coaching, the chance to be on a winning team, and tradition.
Players also list academics. Some are skeptical about the importance of academics, but Alabama Athletics Director Mal Moore thinks it is critical. That is the reason his first priority in the massive facilities upgrades that have occurred on his watch was the remodeling of Bryant Hall to an unsurpassed academics center for athletes. All prospects in every sport visit the center with their parents when they make visits to Alabama. Players and their parents are aware of the high graduation rates of Alabama athletes.
The University beyond athletics does play a role in recruiting. Every prospect meets with a professor in his expected field of study. Moreover, under Dr. Robert E. Witt, president of The Capstone for the past nine years and now serving as chancellor of the entire University system, made it a point that there was a campus-wide renovation of facilities and a comprehensive landscaping program that put the University of Alabama campus among the nation's most beautiful.
Additionally, Alabama is a dynamic university, one that has grown dramatically to over 32,000 students with National Merit Scholars ranking second nationwide among public universities. In recent years the freshman class has been made up of students of whom approximately 50 per cent had 4.0 or better high school grade point averages.
Nevertheless, it is primarily the football situation that attracts football prospects.
Alabama could hardly be better for prospects.
It starts with Saban, widely regarded as the nation's best college football coach. Additionally, Saban and Alabama get plenty of face time when the NFL holds it draft of soon-to-be-millionaires of Crimson Tide players. On top of that, the professional coaches and general managers are solidly on record as saying that players from the Saban program are best equipped to play at the next level. The Alabama staff includes an outstanding group of assistant coaches, many with pro experience
From a facilities standpoint, everything about Bama football is equated to the Taj Mahal – Bryant-Denny Stadium, certainly, but also the amenities of practice facilities, medical attention, strength and conditioning, meeting rooms, players' lounge, living and dining areas, etc.. The Crimson Tide does everything first class.
Saban also puts tremendous emphasis on developing the players as all-around good people, even to the extent of bringing in professionals in various fields to lecture the players on life beyond football.
No team has a greater tradition of championships and All-America recognition and bowl games than does Bama. Fan support is also at the top.
Put it all together and there's no question that many, many top prospects will choose to wear crimson and white. The only real question is how could Alabama lose in recruiting battles for men who want to be champions.
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