Alabama Crimson Tide
Report card: A+
Analysis: There was some anxiousness heading into National Signing Day for the Crimson Tide as they entered Wednesday’s extravaganza with only 16 commitments, but man, what a finish for Alabama. For the sixth straight year, the Crimson Tide finished with the No. 1 recruiting class in America, according to 247Sports’ rankings. The Crimson Tide’s signing day finish was highlighted by two five-stars in linebackers Ben Davis and Lyndell “Mack” Wilson; four-star cornerbacks Jared Mayden and Shyheim Carter; and four-star defensive end Terrell Hall. What’s crazier about this class is the fact that Alabama could be getting more good news when the nation’s No. 1 wide receiver, Demetris Robertson, announces his decision in about a week. He’s still considering Alabama and may visit before making his commitment. Overall, the Alabama staff put together another class that should help the Crimson Tide move toward more national championships in years to come.
Star of the class: Ben Davis, the nation’s No. 1 inside linebacker, is my choice for Alabama’s most important recruit in this year’s class. The son of Alabama’s all-time leading tackler, Wayne Davis, is expected to play immediately in place of potential first-round NFL draft pick Reggie Ragland. In fact, Nick Saban compared Davis to Ragland before he committed to Alabama Wednesday. He also gets bonus points for Alabama fans because he committed to the Tide over his runner-up, Auburn.
Three others who could play next year: Jonah Williams, five-star offensive tackle, Folsom, Calif.; Terrell Hall, four-star defensive end, Washington, D.C.; Mack Wilson, five-star outside linebacker, Montgomery, Ala.
Biggest surprise: The Crimson Tide picked up a surprise commitment from three-star cornerback Aaron Robinson, giving them four commitments at the position for the class. Robinson unofficially visited Alabama in January. It comes as a shock because the Crimson Tide were only expected to sign three cornerbacks in four-stars Shyheim Carter, Jared Mayden and Nigel Knott. The move adds depth at a position of need for the Crimson Tide.
The big fish that got away: A.J. Brown, a four-star wide receiver from Starkville, Miss., signed with Ole Miss over Alabama. The one negative with this class is the lack of a big-time wide receiver. Brown would have filled that void. Meanwhile, five-star defensive end Jeffery Simmons committed to Mississippi State over Alabama and Ole Miss. This came as a big surprise. Most thought if Simmons didn’t choose Alabama, he would sign with Ole Miss. Mississippi State didn’t win many recruiting battles this year, but this was a big one for the Bulldogs.
Final rankings: No. 1 in the nation via Rivals; No. 1 in the nation via 247sports; No. 1 in the nation via Scout; No. 2 in the nation and No. 2 in the SEC via ESPN.