National Signing Day 2021: Alabama inks highest-rated college football recruiting

National Signing Day 2021: Alabama inks highest-rated college football recruiting

Alabama on Wednesday formalized the signing of the No. 1 class in a college football recruiting cycle for the ninth time in the last 11 years. The Crimson Tide entered the traditional 2021 National Signing Day with an incredible 325.46 points in the 247Sports Composite, well ahead of Ohio State’s 309.46, which was exceptionally strong in its own right.

While that is great, Alabama accomplished an even more impressive feat at day’s end as it officially locked up the highest-rated recruiting class in college football history at 327.91.

Alabama’s class had 13 of the top 90 players in the country already signed entering National Signing Day. It officially signed five-star running back Camar Wheaton and received a commitment from four-star defensive back Terrion Arnold before the day was out, giving it 15 of the nation’s top 90 players in a single recruiting class. (It also has the 91st ranked player, defensive end Monkell Goodwine, signed.)

There are an incredible seven five-star prospects inked, including the top two offensive tackles in the nation: JC Latham and Tommy Brockermeyer. The Tide have the No. 2 guard in Terrence Ferguson and the No. 1 center in James Brockermeyer. They also have four of the top 10 wide receivers in JaCorey Brooks, Agiye Hall, Christian Leary and JoJo Earl.

Defensively, this class is no slouch either. Alabama has the No. 1 cornerback in Ga’Quincy McKinstry and the No. 1 weak-side defensive end in Dallas Turner. It welcomes the No. 3 defensive tackle in Damon Payne as well as the No. 3 and No. 9 linebackers in Deonte Lawson and Kendrick Blackshire, respectively.

Not only is this recruiting class the best in 2021 by a good margin, it is the highest-rated of all time as currently comprised.

Alabama has unseated record which has stood for a decade — eons in recruiting time — the Florida Gators’ Class of 2010. Assembled by coach Urban Meyer, one of the best recruiters of all time, and offensive coordinator Steve Addazio, who stood in for Meyer as he took a sabbatical after almost quitting following the 2009 season, the 2010 Florida class had an astounding 324.62 points. Alabama stands over three points ahead at 327.91.

The 2010 group from Florida had 13 of the top 90 players in the nation committed, which is where Alabama started Wednesday before adding its two additional signees. Two players in that Gators class, defensive end Ronald Powell and defensive tackle Dominique Easley, rated No. 1 at their positions. Four others ranked No. 2 and three others ranked fourth.

That was the final class signed by Meyer before his brief retirement. The class did not win titles, but individually, many of the players became long-time starters in the NFL, so it’s fair to say that much of the lack of success was due to culture and coaching during their time there. 

As for Alabama, it may not be done.

Defensive end is a position which will not be closed even on National Signing Day for the Tide as five-star J.T. Tuimoloau will not be deciding for some time as he wants to take visits in the spring. Tuimoloau is the No. 1 overall player in the Top247. Alabama and Ohio State are firmly in the mix, according to 247Sports’ Brandon Huffman. 

The Crimson Tide also have the current No. 3 all-time class, a group familiar to college football fans: Alabama’s 2017 haul. Key members of the class included Tua Tagovailoa, Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III, Devonta Smith, Najee Harris, Alex Leatherwood, Dylan Moses, Jedrick Wills, Xavier McKinney and Mac Jones, just to name a few. This class instantly helped to deliver a national championship in 2017 as true freshmen, and those who stuck around just won another in 2020. 

247Sports’ Chris Hummer argues convincingly that the 2017 Alabama class is the most successful in the history of the recruiting rankings era. In the grander scope, Saban on Wednesday will be signing his sixth out of the 10 highest-rated classes ever.

Recruiting is never a guarantee of success, but not recruiting at an elite level does practically guarantee that a team won’t win it all. It’s an odds game, and the odds of a class this good not producing at an amazing level are quite small. 

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