After watching leaked recruiting video, it's now clearer than ever why nobody is on Nick Saban's level
If you haven’t seen it, you should. By the end of the video, you might just want to dust off the old shoulder pads and find a way to play for Nick Saban.
The video I’m referring to is the viral video that leaked of Nick Saban talking to a recruit.
In case you missed it, here it is:
Why was this even being recorded? https://t.co/lLYlkuE1by
— Cam. (@crobinson_68) January 31, 2021
It’s a fair question. Why was it being recorded? And what sort of social media clout is worth gaining if it results in a pulled scholarship?
For what it’s worth, I don’t know the details of how or why it was released. I don’t know how Saban felt about it, though I’d imagine there’s a reason those conversations are private.
How fitting it was that just a few days after the internet got ahold of it, Saban casually signed the highest-ranked class in 247sports history. Do those two things go hand in hand? Yes and no. The vast majority of Alabama’s 2021 class was already signed. Five-star running back Camar Wheaton’s announcement Wednesday was what put it over the top.
Ho hum. When you finish with the No. 1 class in 9 of 11 years like Alabama, it’s basically like celebrating a birthday. You know it’s coming every year, but that doesn’t mean you need some massive blowout.
Go back to that leaked video. As much as that might’ve frustrated players and probably some fans, it was telling. In fact, it told us why Saban can expect annual No. 1 recruiting classes.
Treat this like boxing. Saban, as the winner of more national titles than all active head coaches combined and the coach of more NFL talent than anyone in America, gets to deliver the opening jab. Watch that video and you’ll see that part of the pitch.
“We’ve won 6 championships in the last 11 years. We’ve been in the national championship game 8 out of the last 11 years … we had 64 guys in the league last year. The next school had 41.”
(It’s actually 6 out of the last 12 years that Alabama won a national championship, and it’s 8 out of the last 12 years that Alabama went to the national championship. But I’m not about to correct Saban.)
Still, that’s the jab that’s too fast and powerful to avoid. Saban knows the counterpunch is coming. What’s the counterpunch? It’s what teams say about Alabama, and how all of that talent means recruits won’t get to play right away.
Watch the video and oh, there’s a little bob and weave. And yep, there’s the haymaker.
“Everyone’s gonna tell you in recruiting, ‘Oh don’t go to Alabama. You can play at our school before you play there. They got all those good players there. You won’t be able to play. You’ll play at our place earlier.’ I think that’s the worst stuff that people can tell you. First of all, when they tell you that, they’re insulting you. I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you if you couldn’t play here. No. 2, when they say ‘You can play at our place before you play at Alabama,’ they’re just telling you Alabama’s better than them. No. 3, if you ask just our players on our team, they’ll tell you the competition made them better.”
Punch landed. Throw in the towel.
That’s why pound for pound, Saban is untouchable. Nothing he said was wrong. That pitch is timeless.
Even on what was arguably the best Alabama team ever, Saban had first- and second-year guys all over the place. Will Anderson was named a starter in the fall as a true freshman linebacker, and all he did was play 646 snaps and earn second-team All-SEC honors. Better yet, look at Malachi Moore. He wasn’t even a top-200 recruit and he played 707 snaps and also earned second-team All-SEC honors as a true freshman.
Shoot, go back to the biggest play in Alabama history. Who threw and caught “2nd-and-26?” A pair of true freshmen.
Saban has probably been delivering knockout blow after knockout blow with that argument for years. But at the same time, what’s the only other way you can talk a kid out of an Alabama offer? Saban’s age? Sure. Go try and tell someone that the guy who just put together one of the most dominant seasons ever and followed it up with the No. 1 recruiting class of the 247sports era is slowing down. Good luck with that.
And to be clear, no, Alabama doesn’t sign everyone. You can only hand out so many offers. Saban always has and always will run into situations in which his sell doesn’t really land. He can’t overcome every regional barrier or relationship with another coach that predates his recruitment.
But more times than not, that’s going to work. Why wouldn’t it? We’re still searching for Saban’s first 3-year stretch at Alabama that doesn’t include a national title. Programs that get gutted by sanctions or a scandal often defer to the cliché “those who stay will be champions” line. Saban, meanwhile, can casually drop that line mid-pitch because literally if you stay 3 years, you will be a champion. It’s just one of a dozen reasons he’s more proven than anyone in the history of the sport.
Saban closed his 2021 class with 16 of the top 100 recruits in the 247sports composite rankings. That’s more than Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and Auburn combined. What Saban has done to sustain success is his greatest testament. To still be this good on the recruiting trail heading into Year 15 is something we won’t truly appreciate until he’s done coaching.
That leaked video showed exactly why there’s no getting up from a Saban haymaker. Sure, they might last a few rounds, but eventually, they’re left in the same position as everyone else.
Lying on the ground, looking up at Saban, knowing there’s no way they could’ve stopped what just hit ’em.