Of course, the other side of that coin is this: in 2008 and 2009, Alabama turned in top-rated signing classes. In a related story, Alabama will enter the 2010 football season as defending champs. So maybe there's something to this thing after all.
On that note, here are some links and notable notes from around from around the landscape after yet another National Signing Day.
— Considerably less buzz this time around than the last two seasons' top-rated classes. Of course, that's mainly because the team won the national championship on the field less than a month ago, and the cupboard is full enough that depth doesn't feel like a pressing concern (in each of the last two seasons, there was belief that members of the '08 and '09 signing classes would be needed to contribute immediately).
That said, it's not like the 2010 version of this was a flop — beyond coach Saban declaring victory this afternoon (like everybody else), the class was either third or fourth in the nation, depending on the source. So Alabama should be fine, from a prospect standpoint.
— My favorite signing for Alabama this time is Opelika's Corey Grant, because a) he's from my hometown; b) he may be able to fill the void for kick returns this fall (UPDATE: Cecil has a good story about him today). Observe ...
— Speaking of Opelika, the biggest story of the day is Auburn's class, which gained steam throughout December and January and ended up either just ahead or just behind of Alabama's in the ranking. It's a big deal, obviously, for the same reason Chizik's 5-0 start in '09 was a big deal: everyone was expecting a disaster, and every positive is a sign that maybe it is not. As Doc Saturday says ...
All of which may be redeemed for 30 seconds' worth of bragging rights and four years' worth of increased expectations. There's a reason the Tigers' bumper crop has met with so much surprise next to Alabama's day at the office: If Chizik can't convert that momentum into another January bowl and another celebrated class next winter, he'll be right back where he started, because Nick Saban's shadow isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
Of course, Auburn is under no obligation to compare itself to Alabama — too often, that "little brother" thing makes Auburn fans come off like a girl that's always staring too much at other girls in the locker room and comparing herself constantly. On the other hand, Alabama IS the defending national champs, and we do recruit the best here. So it makes perfect sense that anyone who wants to be at this level would draw that comparison.
— I'll cede this next point to The Crimson Elephant.
The Alabama Crimson Tide had the top recruiting class in 2008 and 2009. In January of 2010 Alabama won the national championship. Just like the majority of any recruiting class, a good number of those athletes either do not play due to another player being a proven and efficient starter, or the new recruit is given a redshirt, and will never take the field during his first season.
The 2010 Alabama recruiting class is solid, but for the in-state rival to “brag” about surpassing the Tide in recruiting, is based upon lack of knowledge.
Alabama has a “stock pile” of talent from prior recruiting classes that have limited playing time, or in some cases, have yet to take the field. The Alabama football program is now in a position to carefully select prospects based upon need…not want.
— Two quirky stories of the day:
• First, apparently big-time safety prospect Keenan Allen flipped his commitment at the last minute ... because Alabama wouldn't carve out a spot for his brother. Notably, we DID find a spot for both Dubba Dubba Twins back in '99.
• Second, maybe we'll be seeing at least one signee playing basketball in 2011.
— Finally, courtesy Gentry, here's coach Saban wearing a lousy suit and talking about the 2010 signing class.
Alabama coach Nick Saban Signing Day press conference, part 1
Alabama coach Nick Saban Signing Day press conference, part 2
And with that, I bid you adieu from National Signing Day. Tomorrow the basketball squad has Florida in Tuscaloosa. Also, it's my wife's birthday. Roll Tide.