Nick Saban is known to think outside the box when it comes to hiring his offensive coordinators at Alabama. Given that history, many bought into the idea that Hugh Freeze had a chance to land the role following Brian Daboll’s decision to leave the program after only one season.

Instead of making the splash hire, Saban went the other way, promoting co-offensive coordinator Mike Locksley into the role full-time. It was a popular decision inside the Crimson Tide locker room to be sure, as several players expressed their desire to see Locksley land the job.

During his weekly Monday morning appearance on WJOX 94.5 FM program The Opening Drive, SEC Network host Paul Finebaum shared his thoughts on Saban’s decision to hand the OC title to Locksley. According to Finebaum, the move had more to do with recruiting than anything else.

“I think Nick Saban made a pragmatic decision. He didn’t listen to the critics and listen to the noise and go out there and hire someone from a certain category,” Finebaum said on the air. “He knew that promoting Mike Locksley was the best thing to do right now — especially from a recruiting standpoint.

“I think everything at Alabama revolves around recruiting, and Saban’s not overly concerned that the right play call will be made next football season. We just saw it last season with Daboll, if you have the right people, you can make the right calls. (Saban) may have been a little concerned about recruiting, which sounds unbelievable but Alabama may have slipped a fraction. I think he felt Locksley as the coordinator was key to that. ”

With Georgia close to locking down the No. 1 recruiting class for the 2018 recruiting cycle, which would represent Alabama not holding that title for the first time in nearly a decade, there may be some validity to Finebaum’s claim. The Tide still have a few weeks to climb up the recruiting rankings before National Signing Day, but it’s worth noting that Saban doesn’t appear pleased by the fact Kirby Smart and his Georgia coaches have more momentum on the recruiting trail at this time.

How quickly will that change remains to be seen but credit Saban for making the decision he believes will help fix the issue heading into the following recruiting cycle.