ATHENS — Alabama coach Nick Saban could be on the verge of this third No. 1 signing class in the past five years on Wednesday, and a video that recently leaked showed why.
Saban, in a Zoom recruiting call, outlined why players should choose the Crimson Tide even when other programs are telling them not to go to Alabama.
Saban spelled out the Tide’s unprecedented championship success in the modern era, the program’s impressive track record of placing players into the NFL, and then finished with a challenge of sorts.
“This ain’t for everybody, everybody can’t play for the Yankees, man,” Saban said in the video. “You got to want to be good, you have to want to play with the best, you’ve got to want to be the best.”
Georgia’s recruiting mindset is much the same, and the Bulldogs’ players often say many of the same things when discussing the competition for positions at UGA.
The Bulldogs had seven players invited to the Senior Bowl all-star game last week in Mobile, while Alabama had five. The game is held among head coaches and GMs representing all 32 teams and serves as a good indicator for the players selected that they will be drafted.
No doubt, for all of Sabam’s luster, Kirby Smart is the only coach to finish in the Top 3 of each of the five recruiting class rankings.
Georgia has had the No. 1-ranked class (2018, 2020) the two years that Alabama hasn’t since 2017, per the 247Sports composite.
Smart landed 5-star quarterback Brock Vandagriff in the 2021 class on the early signing day in December, and Georgia received a firm commitment from the No. 2-ranked quarterback in the 2022 class, Gunner Stockton, last week.
“Quarterbacks want to play at Georgia,” Smart said on the early signing day in December. “I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but they enjoy playing at Georgia.
“They want the opportunity to win championships,” said Smart, who is 10-6 against Top 10 teams during his five-year tenure, leading to Top 10 finishes each of the past three seasons.
“ And you putting yourself in the conversation about being able to win championships is always going to put you at the forefront of every quarterback’s in the country list.”
Smart said he’s seeing that consistency adding up on the recruiting trail, even if his observations are having to come mostly through Zoom calls instead of visits in the living rooms.
“These kids grow up seeing Georgia in the top five, top six in the country most of their high school, even middle school lives,” Smart said. “That plays a factor in it. Georgia has a great place to go to school academically.”
Saban has the advantage with national titles, but Smart — who was an academic All-SEC selection and holds a business school degree from Georgia — does not hesitate to show how the UGA credentials vastly outweigh Alabama’s.
Georgia ranks No. 15 among all public universities, second only to No. 6 Florida in the SEC per the 2021 U.S. News & World Report rankings.
Texas A&M is next among the SEC schools at No. 26, followed by Auburn (No. 40), Tennessee (No. 52), South Carolina (No. 54), Missouri (No. 60), Kentucky (No. 62) and then comes Alabama, ninth among the SEC schools and No. 65 overall.
What Saban said
... 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’ve been to the Playoffs 9 out of the last 11 years.
“We had 64 guys playing in the league last year the next school had 41, so we’ve got way more players playing in the league.
“So Everybody is going to tell you in recruiting, you know, don’t go to Alabama, you can play at our school before you can play there, they have got good players there, you won’t be able to play, you can 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, it’s insulting, because I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you if you couldn’t play here.
“Number Two, when they say you can play at our place before you can play at Alabama, they are just telling you Alabama is better than them. Then Number Three, if you ask our players on our team, they will tell you just the opposite. They will tell you competition makes you better.
“Marlon Humphrey was the first corner taken in the draft when he was a junior, he’ll say ‘I had to cover Amari Cooper every day, “Amari Cooper was the first receiver taken in the draft.
“Cam Robinson was the left tackle here and won the Outland Trophy, Johnathan Allen played for the Redskins, he was the right end he won the Nagurski, they practiced against each other every day for three years
“All those guys will tell you, ‘That made me better. The competition made me better. The guy I practiced against was better than the guy I played in the game against’
“So don’t listen to that, is what I’m trying to tell you. This ain’t for everybody, everybody can’t play for the Yankees, man, you got to want to be good, you have to want to play with the best, you’ve got to want to be the best.”