Experts Know Their Stuff

Following Alabama's Thursday practice, Coach Nick Saban was asked about the Crimson Tide having stockpiled so many fine players with another good recruiting class.

"I've never said anything about the talent that we've stockpiled," Saban said. "That's strictly you all's opinion and the guy from or wherever, that's his opinion.

"The proof is in the pudding. You come to college, just because everybody says you're going to be a great player because you're a four-star or five-star or whatever.

"What are the qualifications of the people who made those judgments?"

The proof is in the pudding, as Saban said. And the proof, in part, is the record. Andrew Bone and the rest of the recruiting team aren't just guessing. They put these players through thorough combines and camps, and provide data that is used by the recruiting staff at every college, including Alabama. And the players who are listed as three-, four- and five-star prospects by are the same players being recruited by Saban and other big-time programs.

Does that mean that every freshman who was a top prospect is ready to play immediately? No. they are "prospects." And, yes, some will never pan out; and, yes, there will be a star college player who was not a top prospect.

Rashad Johnson comes to mind. missed on Johnson, who went on to an All-America career at Alabama and is now in the NFL. But guess who else missed on Johnson? College coaches. He wasn't offered one Division I scholarship. Fortunately, he walked on as a running back at Alabama, then became a big-time safety.

The truth is that a team getting a majority of five- and four-star prospects in its recruiting class is probably going to have a lot of success on Saturdays.

Saban said, "When you come here, do you really have the right stuff to do it? I'm talking about physically, emotionally, mentally, the right intangibles, the right maturity and how important it is to you. That goes a long way. Most guys that come to college do not know what it takes to be a good player in college. A lot of guys that came in the NFL as rookies didn't know what it took to be a good player in the NFL, either. They have to go through some growing pains and the process of learning how to do that. When they do that, then they have talent. They've proven they have talent to play at this level."

Saban added, "I don't know where we're stockpiling all this stuff at, but we have room for lots more. Plenty of room for more."

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