TUSCALOOSA — National Signing Day isn’t what it used to be, and Alabama head coach Nick Saban appears to have garnered a certain disdain for that fact, even if he’s adjusted to it.
Three years into the advent of December's early signing period, during which the Crimson Tide secured nearly 90% of its 2020 class, the second signing period has taken on a completely different feel.
“I guess this signing day that we’ve always known as (the) Signing Day has become a ‘Limited Edition’ Signing Day, the day we all look forward to that sort of ends recruiting for this year and really begins it for the next year,” Saban said Wednesday. “We’re really excited about the class we were able to attract, but I think this is an accumulation of a lot of hard work by a lot of people.”
Alabama Crimson Tide filled out its 25-member signing class with three of its four commitments entering the late signing period.
That included the additions of a pair of previously-committed McEachern (Georgia) High teammates in four-star receiver Javon Baker and four-star defensive tackle Jamil Burroughs, as well as three-star offensive lineman Damieon George of Houston, Texas.
Even if Saban won’t admit it, the Crimson Tide missed out on the only two non-commits it was targeting. Four-star defensive tackle McKinnley Jackson — the team’s unquestioned No. 1 target during the late period — signed with Texas A&M and three-star cornerbacker Ennis Rakestraw signed with Missouri earlier Wednesday.
“We could only sign three guys, so that’s what we expected, … based on math,” Saban said. “But it was a very busy day, because the (recruiting) calendar is moved up. I spend my whole day today, and we spend our whole day today, really (focusing) on next year’s recruiting.
“I think I talked to 22 guys today, and I talked to 14 guys yesterday. So, it was very busy. In fact, by the end of the day today, I was stuttering on the phone and having a tough time speaking clearly, so that’s how busy it was. It wasn’t busy in terms of how many guys we signed, but we had a lot to do.”
Alabama held steady to its No. 2 nationally ranked signing class, finishing with 310.44 points according to the 247Sports.com team rankings, nearly 3 points behind top-ranked Georgia, which secured the nation’s No. 1 class for the second time in the last three seasons.
It's the second time in three years that Alabama's February signings totaled three players.
“I used to sit in the office 10 years ago and do nothing but recruit for this class on this day to try to get guys signed and make sure everything was going the way it was supposed to this day,” Saban said. “I haven’t talked to a single recruit today that we’re recruiting in this class.”
Still, with the addition of Burroughs, Saban sounded pleased with this year’s defensive line haul.
“I think the biggest thing was we got a significant number of guys in the front seven. I’m talking about outside ‘backer types, defensive line types, guys that are athletic who can rush, inside ‘backer types,” Saban said. “That was probably, really, something that we needed to address. Because I think the lack of depth at that position last year was a factor for us.”