Chris Kirschner/SEC Country
Burton Burns has moved to an off-field role at Alabama.

Alabama recruiting question of the day: How Burton Burns’ new role affects recruiting

Alabama finished seventh in the recruiting rankings in the 2018 class, but expect the Crimson Tide to be back on top come 2019. SEC Country’s Chris Kirschner will answer the Recruiting Question of the Day each weekday. You can ask him your questions on Twitter or on Facebook. Find our previous questions and answers here.


Alabama announced Thursday that legendary running backs coach Burton Burns will move into an off-field role. His new title is assistant athletic director of football. Burns spent 11 years as Alabama’s running backs coach, and during that time Mark Ingram and Derrick Henry won the Heisman Trophy. Seven running backs under Burns have gone on to the NFL. He has been a big part of the team’s success over the years.

Joe Pannunzio takes over for Burns. Pannunzio was the team’s tight ends coach last season and has never been a running backs coach. I know some fans may see that as a glaring issue, but it’s really not. If you’re a good coach, and Pannunzio has proven he is, you can coach any position on the field.

Also, I think a lot of fans may not realize but Pannunzio did an excellent job recruiting for Alabama in the Class of 2018. He was the primary recruiter for 5-star cornerback Patrick Surtain Jr. and 4-star cornerback Josh Jobe. He also played a big role in keeping 4-star Jack linebacker Jordan Davis and 4-star wide receiver Xavier Williams committed for as long as they were.

Davis raved about Pannunzio on our recruiting show when he called him “a great friend, coach and mentor.”

Pannunzio currently is the primary recruiter for Class of 2019 4-star safety commit Brandon Turnage and 5-star linebacker Nakobe Dean, with whom Alabama is in a strong position.

There shouldn’t be any drop-off when it comes to recruiting with Burns’ new role. In my opinion, it’s probably the best recruiting move the team could have made. We’ll see what happens on the field.

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