Alabama added two more 5-star recruits in the 2018 class.
That’s low by Tide standards, but the recruits stack up with the best Nick Saban has landed.
Here are the 10 best Saban has brought to Tuscaloosa, according to 247Sports.com’s database.
1. 2011 OT Cyrus Kouandjio (.9994)
Kouandjio was an All-American and national champion, but given the star power Alabama has had, you might win a bar bet about who was the highest-rated recruit. He was a second-round draft pick in 2014.
2. 2008 WR Julio Jones (.9992)
Most would assume Jones would be the correct answer to Saban’s highest-rated recruit, and why not? An All-American and national champion in college, Jones is carving out a Hall of Fame career with the Atlanta Falcons.
3. 2018 DE Eyabi Anoma (.9987)
Anoma not only is the highest-rated recruit in the 2018, he’s the highest-rated defensive player Saban has signed. Given the dominance of the Tide’s recent run of defensive linemen, that’s saying something. The expectations are enormous, but he’s embraced them.
“I mean, it’s the Saban era,” Anoma told ESPN2, explaining his decision. “Time in and time out, he just produces top-notch players that compete at a high level. I want to go there and compete at a high level. Nothing is going to be given to me and I like competing against the top people in the country. So that’s where I’m going to get top-notch competition.”
4. 2017 RB Najee Harris (.9984)
Two Saban running backs have won the Heisman Trophy, but none arrived with Harris’ credentials. He showed flashes as freshman. Expect him to assume a larger role in 2018 before taking over in 2019.
5. 2017 OT Alex Leatherwood (.9981)
It’s hard enough to see the field as a freshman at Alabama, and it’s even rarer to do that as an offensive lineman. Leatherwood wasn’t a starter, but he was a key backup who saw time at left tackle in the National Championship Game. Alabama’s line is loaded in 2018, but he’s a candidate to start.
6. 2014 OT Cam Robinson (.9980)
Derrick Henry didn’t run for an SEC-record 2,219 yards in 2015 by accident. Robinson was the rarest of rare: was a Day 1 starter at left tackle for Saban. He helped the Tide win the 2015 national championship and left early for the NFL after his junior year … where he became a Day 1 starter for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
7. 2014 DE Da’Shawn Hand (.9979)
Hand had to wait his turn, but he was a key part in the Tide reaching three consecutive national title games, winning two.
8. 2018 DB Patrick Surtain (.9973)
Alabama’s secondary will have to reinvent itself in 2018, which is why Surtain’s flip from LSU was critical. It’s too drastic to say his Signing Day decision saved the class, but given the holes Saban must fill, landing Surtain was essential. He’s the highest-rated defensive back in the Saban era.
9. 2009 RB Trent Richardson (.9972)
The first Heisman Trophy winner in Alabama’s illustrious history, Richardson wasn’t even the highest-rated RB recruit entering the SEC that season. That honor went to Tennessee signee Bryce Brown, who ended up transferring. Richardson helped Alabama win national titles in 2009 and 2011.
10. 2012 S Landon Collins (.9972)
Saban started loading up on star defensive backs in 2008, but he’d never had one as highly acclaimed as Collins. A Louisiana product, Collins was the No. 7-rated player in the class. He was part of the 2012 national championship team and left early for the NFL, just missing becoming a first-round pick in 2015. He’s already a two-time Pro Bowler and in 2016 was named First Team All-Pro.