2022 Early National Signing Day was a rousing success for Nick Saban and the Alabama football program according to On3’s Keegan Pope, who led off his list of the biggest winners of the December 21 recruiting holiday with the Crimson Tide.
Pope emphasized the Tide staff’s ability to flip multiple 5-star recruits from several 2022 College Football Playoff teams before 2022 Early National Signing Day even began in his glowing assessment of Saban and co.’s performance.
“It really can’t be understated how impressively Alabama finished off its 2023 class,” Pope wrote. “The Crimson Tide held off beat Ohio State for five-star EDGE Keon Keeley, held off a late push from the Buckeyes for five-star safety commit Caleb Downs, and kept Georgia at bay with five-star running back commit Justice Haynes. And that was all before signing day even began.”
Alabama Football Likely Locked Up Another No. 1 Recruiting Class
Following a 2022 cycle that saw Texas A&M reach the No. 1 spot — which led to Nick Saban accusing Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher of buying players on May 18 at a meeting of business leaders in Alabama — Alabama is once again at the top of the heap on the recruiting trail in 2023. The Tide had been the No. 1 class in two of the past four years prior to this year.
A big reason? The Crimson Tide ended up with six of the top 32 high school players in the country after landing the Carver duo of Qua Russaw and James Smith on Early National Signing Day.
According to On3’s Keegan Pope, it’s a near-certainty Alabama will end up with the No. 1 class in the country for 2023. “Barring a miracle unlike anything we’ve ever seen in recruiting, Nick Saban and Co. locked up yet another No. 1 recruiting class on Wednesday,” he wrote.
Alabama Can Match Texas A&M’s 2022 Class in SI99 Recruits
While Texas A&M inexplicably finished in the bottom slot in the SEC West in 2022, their recruiting success during the last cycle was undeniable — the Aggies finished with 13 players in Sports Illustrated’s SI99 recruiting rankings.
The Crimson Tide still has the chance to match last year’s group at TAMU according to SI’s John Garcia Jr., who ranked Alabama football No. 1 in his post-Early National Signing Day recruiting rankings. “Alabama holds 12 members of the ranking in the 27-man class as of Wednesday evening,” Garcia wrote. “Texas A&M’s historic haul last cycle capped at 13 members in February. UA has time, and No. 1 cornerback Cormani McClain didn’t sign with Miami on Wednesday, to potentially make up ground in the near future.”
While the Carver duo of James Smith and Qua Russaw put Alabama football in striking range of Texas A&M’s vaunted 2022 recruiting class, Garcia believes the Crimson Tide clinched the No. 1 spot with their flip of former Iowa commit Kadyn Proctor. “One could argue Bama began its clinching of the top spot the day before signing day, when it flipped top-10 prospect Kadyn Proctor from the local Iowa Hawkeyes, but Nick Saban’s program hit on more key targets anyway Wednesday in landing in-state defensive stars James Smith and Qua Russaw,” Garcia wrote.