To the consternation of elite programs near and far, the Crimson Tide have again won the Rivals.com national recruiting title, continuing their impressive run of four straight and six titles in the last seven cycles.
Coach Nick Saban and his band of assistants had another tremendous run, landing six five-stars in this recruiting class, led by Woodbridge (Va.) Woodbridge Senior defensive end Da'Shawn Hand, the top-rated prospect by Rivals.com.
In Alabama's last four Rivals.com national recruiting titles, it has landed 16 five-stars. Alabama's team point total of 3,263 is the most ever in the Rivals250 era, dating back to 2008.
"This is a great class for Alabama, a class of historic proportions because it's the first time in Rivals.com history that they landed the No. 1 player overall and once again they went into other states and plucked players away from in-state schools or long-time leaders," Rivals.com national recruiting director Mike Farrell said.
"The dynasty that Saban has created in recruiting at Alabama is unmatched historically and it has played out in multiple national titles. I've seen Miami dominate in recruiting, I've seen USC and Florida dominate in recruiting but I have never seen anything like what Alabama is doing now. We are in the midst of the greatest recruiting run in history. That's something to think about."
The Alabama coaching staff not only landed top instate talent. They went to Virginia to get the No. 1 player in the country, wresting him away from Michigan, long considered to be the favorite. Getting Hand speaks to Alabama's cachet and its ability to literally get almost any player it wants.
"Hand to Alabama speaks about the brand that is the Crimson Tide," Farrell said. "I had him pegged for Michigan. He loved everything about Michigan but I think the one thing he wasn't sure of was whether they would compete for national titles.
"Hand's decision was also very much about academics, but it was also about winning and achieving a dream to play in the NFL, don't question that. And Alabama offered him the best opportunity for that in his mind and it's simply hard to argue it based on the on-field production and the number of players they put in the first round."
Damage was also done by Alabama in Louisiana. The Crimson Tide battled LSU for Robinson and won. They also beat many competitors for four-star safety Laurence Jones and four-star receiver Cameron Sims. The first piece of the puzzle was Sims, who committed in August, followed by close friend Robinson and they worked on securing Jones.
It all fell right into place and Alabama came out on top.
"What Nick Saban and Alabama were able to do in Louisiana was no small task," Rivals.com Midlands/Southwest recruiting analyst Jason Howell said. "They went head to head with LSU for the most highly sought offensive line recruit in the country in Cameron Robinson and were able to pull him out of Louisiana. That in itself was a big win with both LSU and Alabama going all out to secure his signature."
Humphrey, whose father played at Alabama, was always considered a Crimson Tide lean, but he flirted with Florida State and other schools. Landing the five-star cornerback from Hoover, Ala., was not much of a surprise at all.
Getting Brown, a five-star corner from Beaumont (Texas) Ozen, at the Under Armour All-America Game did stun some people.
"The thing about Tony Brown's recruiting process which stands out is Brown was considered an LSU lock for most of his recruitment and Texas and Texas A&M were also fighting hard to keep him in-state," Howell said. "It is always hard to count out Alabama, but the Crimson Tide had to make up some serious ground and fight off some big-time competition. It says a lot about Alabama that they were able to go in and get the job done when it looked like such a tall order."