There’s no question Alabama and head coach Nick Saban have produced some of the nation’s all-time top recruiting classes over the last couple of years—and they are doing it again this year. In fact, if one looks at the early years of the past decade—the Mike Shula years—there’s a big difference in what happened to Shula’s chosen recruits and what has happened with Saban’s.
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In fact, we at Saturday Down South will go ahead and give a report card of 6 ‘As’, 1 ‘C’, 1 ‘F’ and 2 ‘incompletes’. The incompletes are Kerry Murphy and Reuben Foster, Murphy because injuries ended his career prematurely and Foster because he’s just a true freshman. The F would be Chris Keys (see below) and the C would be Nikita Stover, who had a decent but not eye-popping three-year career. The rest are easily As. Keep in mind, our SDS Grades are based on whether the kid lived up to his tremendous potential by succeeding on the field and for the most part avoiding trouble off of it–we’re not grading our media brethren’s choices. When an athlete receives a top rating, that means analysts and coaches feel the prospect is athletically gifted enough to succeed, whether he does or not is mostly up to him.
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Here’s a look back over the last 10 years at who was the No. 1 ranked recruit coming to the program—and also how they panned out, career wise.
|YEAR||NO. 1 RECRUIT||POS||NAT RANK||HOW’D THEY TURN OUT?||SDS GRADE|
|2013||Reuben Foster||LB||6||Played in 6 games as true Fr., had 12 tackles; will flourish next year||Inc.|
|2012||Landon Collins||DB||7||Had 54 tackles, 4 tackles for loss and 2 INTs; 2nd team All-SEC in 2013||A|
|2011||Cyrus Kouandjio||OL||2||Has declared early for 2014 NFL draft; consensus All-American last fall||A+|
|2010||Dee Milliner||DB||14||Taken No. 9 overall in 2013 NFL draft; All-American at Bama||A+|
|2009||D.J. Fluker||OL||3||Taken No. 11 overall in 2013 NFL draft; All-American at Bama||A+|
|2008||Julio Jones||WR||2||Taken No. 6 overall in 2011 NFL draft; 2,653 career receiving yards at Bama||A+|
|2007||Kerry Murphy||DT||70||Went prep school route first; was a backup in 2009; injuries ended career||Inc.|
|2006||Andre Smith||OL||1||Taken No. 6 overall in 2009 NFL draft; All-American at Bama||A+|
|2005||Chris Keys||DB||108||Played sparingly as true Fr. kicked off team 2006||F|
|2004||Nikita Stover||WR||49||Went JUCO first, just 28 catches in 3 yrs, no NFL||C|
NOTE: Rankings based on 247Sports composite rankings—which were done retroactively within the past year, taking the average of all four services.