High Tide; It's 'Bama No. 1
Nick Saban
Nick Saban
National Recruiting Analyst
Posted Feb 6, 2008
Jamie Newberg

Alabama left no doubt about who would end up at No. 1 in Scout.com's team recruiting class rankings. Nick Saban's Crimson Tide came on strong to win the race.

It's always so much fun to watch the race unfold before our eyes.

For the class of 2008, Notre Dame almost led from wire to wire. Then the Fighting Irish, along with everyone else in the college football world got hit by a tidal wave colored Crimson.

Alabama closed like a sledge hammer to pass Notre Dame and finish with the nation's top recruiting class, according to Scout.com.

What a day for this storied program in Tuscaloosa, as Alabama closed with the nation's top receiver in Julio Jones, as well as one of the premier defensive tackles in the nation in Marcel Dareus.

They wanted an athletic quarterback and got Star Jackson. They needed big-time playmakers at wide receiver and in addition to Jones they landed Melvin Ray, Chris Jackson and Destin Hood.

Versatility is a key component of the Crimson Tide class as several of Alabama's best signees are two-way stars.

Burton Scott could star on either side of the ball at receiver or cornerback. Mark Barron could star at receiver, safety or grow into a linebacker. Devonta Bolton could play either receiver or linebacker. Running back Mark Ingram could be the steal of this class.

The Tide did well in the trenches with a great one in Tyler Love (OT). On the other side of the ball they have committed seven defensive linemen, including Dareus as well as 385-pound tackle Terrance Cody, a junior college transfer.

Alabama also inked some athletic ends in Courtney Upshaw, Michael Williams and Dont'a Hightower. Damien Square has a chance to be an outstanding outside linebacker and Alonzo Lawrence and Robby Green are two gems at cornerback. Linebacker Jerrell Harris is another defensive standout.

Sure, Jones is the headliner of this class, and he will have a chance to make an enormous impact at Alabama, but this Crimson Tide class is full of talent at every position. This group should be a great nucleus for head coach Nick Saban, as he tries to build the Tide back to dominance on the field.

Having led the Scout.com team recruiting rankings most of the season, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are anything but disappointed with the No. 2 class in the country. Charlie Weis and his staff did arguably the best job of recruiting this year with a class of 23 that averages almost four stars per player.

The Irish got off to a blistering start in recruiting and basically held on after their 3-9 season in 2007. Weis has never had trouble signing offensive recruits and this season is no different, as five-star prospects Dayne Crist (QB), Deion Walker and Michael Floyd (WRs) and Kyle Rudolph (TE) are all headed to South Bend.

What separates this class from previous Notre Dame classes is what they did on defense. They finally landed players at all defensive positions with speed and athleticism led by defensive linemen Ethan Johnson and Sean Cwynar, linebackers Darius Fleming and Steve Filer, and defensive backs Jamoris Slaughter, Robert Blanton and Dan McCarthy.

This class has balance and many will have a chance to make immediate contributions.

Finishing No. 3 in the Scout.com team recruiting rankings was Miami. Head coach Randy Shannon cleaned up in his backyard and closed very well on Signing Day. In fact, most of this Hurricane class is from South Florida and this has to be regarded as Miami's best class in years. Many from this group of incoming freshmen could have an immediate impact on the program.

The Hurricanes need immediate help at quarterback and they are bringing in three signal-callers; Jacory Harris, Taylor Cook and Cannon Smith. All should push red-shirt freshman Robert Marve, although they are likely fighting to be his backup.

Wide receiver Aldarius Johnson will see early playing time and could be in the starting lineup early in the '08 season for Miami. In fact, all the receivers have a chance to see early playing time.

Both fullbacks, Patrick Hill and John Calhoun, should see the field early for the Hurricanes, as well. On the other side of the ball, watch out. Defensive tackle Marcus Forston is one of the nation's top prospects regardless of position while linebackers Ramon Buchanan, Arthur Brown Sean Spence, and Jordan Futch,

Miami's defensive back class has talent across the board, as well, starting with five-star cornerback Brandon Harris. The Hurricanes went coast to coast for safeties in Vaughn Telemaque from California and C.J. Holton from Florida.

Georgia checks in at No. 4. The Dawgs have been arguably one of the most consistent teams in terms of recruiting for a while now and this season is no different. Georgia nailed it at just about every position but quarterback.

Wide receiver A.J. Green is one of the nation's finest prospects, and he should make a big, early splash in Athens. So to could Tavarres King, who is a big-time playmaker.

UGA hit the motherload at running back with Richard Samuel, Carlton Thomas and Dontavius Jackson.

Georgia always seems to do well at the line of scrimmage and this class is no different. Cordy Glenn, A.J. Harmon, Ben Jones, DeAngelo Tyson, Cornelius Washington, Toby Jackson is as solid as they come.

The back seven is talented, too, led by Marcus Dowtin, Brandon Boykin and Baccari Rambo. Blair Walsh is the nation's top-rated placekicker.

Florida State and LSU traded places during the day for the No. 5 spot. Florida State is brining in a deep class of talent that includes the nation's No. 2 quarterback in E.J. Manuel and the No. 1 middle linebacker in Nigel Bradham.

Included in the Top 10 are two teams that could push for the Top 5 depending on the eventual decision of Scout.com's No. 1 prospect Terrelle Pryor. Ohio State and Michigan are sitting at Nos. 7 and 8 respectively, and both are in the hunt for Pryor.

Scout.com's complete team recruiting rankings

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