TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — As far as press conferences go, it was an odd one for University of Alabama coach Nick Saban on Wednesday.
There was the start of the first early-signing period, which will go through Friday, as a good part of the Crimson Tide’s recruiting Class of 2018 was secured. There were injuries to discuss and practice as well as Alabama is preparing to face Clemson in the Sugar Bowl semifinal on Jan. 1 (8:45 p.m. ET, ESPN).
Things have been so hectic that Saban understandably forgot to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, as he usually does during his final press gathering before the holiday break.
“I have no experience with this,” he said about what might be next in terms of recruiting.
“I just know there’s a lot of stuff going on here right now.”
Alabama has signed 15 players and as of now has eight slots remaining under the 85-man scholarship limit. As of 5 p.m. ET the class was ranked No. 5 nationally by 247Sports and No. 6 by ESPN and Rivals.
Earlier this year, Alabama won its seventh straight national recruiting title per the 247Sports Composite Rankings, which factor in some other services.
The class so far features:
Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown/School
- Eyabi Anoma OLB 6-5 230 Baltimore, Md./St. Frances Academy
- Jalyn Armour-Davis DB 6-1 180 Mobile, Ala./St. Paul’s Episcopal
- Christian Barmore DL 6-5 290 Philadelphia, Pa./Neumann Goretti
- Slade Bolden ATH 5-11 200 West Monroe, La./West Monroe
- Tommy Brown OL 6-7 313 Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei
- Jordan Davis OLB 6-5 240 Memphis, Tenn./Southwind
- Skyler DeLong P 6-4 180 Fort Mill, S.C./Nation Ford
- Emil Ekiyor Jr. OL 6-3 339 Indianapolis, Ind./Cathedral
- Jerome Ford RB 5-11 195 Seffner, Fla./Armwood
- Josh Jobe DB 6-1 180 Miami, Fla./Cheshire Academy
- Cameron Latu OLB 6-5 236 Salt Lake City, Utah/Olympus
- Jarez Parks OLB 6-4 260 Sebastian, Fla./River
- Saivion Smith DB 6-1 185 St. Petersburg, Fla./IMG Academy/LSU/Miss. Gulf Coast
- Xavier Williams WR 6-1 190 Hollywood, Fla./Chaminade-Madonna Prep
- Stephon Wynn Jr. DL 6-4 308 Anderson, S.C./IMG Academy
Parks and Smith, who comes in as a junior in terms of eligibility, reported last week and are practicing with the team during their on-campus workouts.
“We’re very pleased and happy with the 15 players we were able to sign,” Saban said. “I think these signees today represent a lot of hard work. The coaches did a good job. A lot of our players, the team we have here at Alabama, the academic folks, when these guys visit, our administration, all did a very good job. We’ve kind of identified our needs and hopefully we’ll be able to finish with a lot of good players who are left out there that are going to wait until February or maybe sign in the next two days, but we really can’t comment on that.”
Among the subjects that Saban could discuss:
• Injuries: Saban confirmed that the fractured foot suffered by freshman Dylan Moses required the insertion o f a pin and his very similar to what sophomore linebacker Mack Wilson and freshman defensive end Labryan Ray had. It’ll be 2-4 weeks before he can do much, with Saban calling him out indefinitely. Safety Deionte Thompson has a lower leg bruise. “It’s not a problem,” he said.
• Practices: Saban said he’s been pleased with the energy and enthusiasm so far. Alabama started to specifically game plan for Clemson on Tuesday. “I think it’s important that players have a vision of what they want to try to accomplish, the opportunity they’ve created for themselves and a vision of what they want to do. That’s everybody in the organization. Then everybody has to take ownership to try to do their job and be responsible for what’s expected of them, which goes for, the coaches, all the players. Then everybody has to have faith, trust and confidence in themselves and their ability to do it relative to the challenge that they have with the team we’re playing. They have to have faith, trust and confidence in their teammates.”
• Schedule: Alabama will hold a post-Christmas practice in Tuscaloosa on the 26th. The team will travel together to New Orleans on the morning of the 27th.
The early-signing period wraps up Friday, and Alabama will look to fill whatever spots remain during the regular signing day in February.
“It’s different,” Saban said about the frantic December. “I would say now that we’re going to recruit the rest of this recruiting cycle pretty much like it’s been in the past. It’s just going to be a smaller pool of players.”