Alabama Takes Day Off, But Still Rules Signing Day; Florida Coach Billy Napier ‘Still Respects’ QB Jaden Rashada, Who Bolted For Arizona St.

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Alabama football coach Nick Saban is still looking for two coordinators, but he continues to have no trouble finding players.

A day after failing to hire Washington offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb, Saban finished with the consensus No. 1 recruiting class in the nation for the 2022-23 period on Wednesday. Grubb elected to stay at the University of Washington despite serious wooing by Saban.

And the Crimson Tide coach finished No. 1 in recruiting again after not signing one player on Wednesday as the second signing day continues to be largely uneventful. That would have been true even without Tom Brady retiring – again. The NCAA is considering returning to a single signing day with the December signing day added in 2017 continuing to render the February signing day null and anticlimactic.

Saban signed all 28 during the early signing period last Dec. 21-23, including nine of the top-ranked five-star prospects.

Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher signed the No. 1 class in the nation in 2022 with Alabama second, but Fisher dropped to No. 15 this year. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

“We’re obviously very pleased with the class we’re able to attract,” Saban said on the first signing day. “But I think what I liked about this group the most is it seems like they have really good character.”


Saban did not have a recruiting press conference on Wednesday. He was too busy trying to find two coordinators in the same hiring period for the first time since 2008.

Alabama signed three players ranked in the top 10 in the nation in December. Those were No. 2 edge rusher Keon Keeley of Berkeley Prep in Tampa, No. 6 safety Caleb Downs of Mill Creek High in Hoschton, Georgia, and No. 9 offensive tackle Kadyn Proctor of Southeast Polk High in Des Moines, Iowa.


ESPN and CBS also named Alabama’s class No. 1. Saban now has 10 No. 1 classes since 2011, according to 247 Sports.

South Carolina Adds Major Signee

Georgia, winner of the last two national championships on the field, finished No. 2 in the current 247 Sports rankings. Georgia coach Kirby Smart gained a commitment Wednesday from Ellis Robinson IV, the No. 1 cornerback in the nation from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, via Iona Prep in New York. But that is for the 2024 class. Robinson picked Georgia over Alabama, LSU, Miami and former cornerback Deion Sanders – the coach at Colorado.

Sanders’ first class at Colorado finished No. 30 in the nation. He just left Jackson State for that job after the 2022 season.

The rest of the top five featured Texas, Oklahoma and Ohio State. LSU finished No. 6 after also taking most of Wednesday off. LSU coach Brian Kelly did lose No. 128 defensive lineman Jamel Howard of Marist High in Chicago to Wisconsin, which finished No. 58.

The rest of the top 10 featured Miami, Oregon, Tennessee and Notre Dame to close out the top 10.

South Carolina finished No. 16 after a major signing on Wednesday. The Gamecocks and coach Shane Beamer landed No. 1 athlete Nyckoles Harbor of Carroll High in Washington D.C. He chose South Carolina over finalists Maryland, Michigan and Oregon.

Former Florida Target Jaden Rashada Lands At Arizona State

Arizona State enjoyed the other major signing of the day as No. 7 quarterback Jaden Rashada of Pittsburg, California, in the San Francisco area, picked the Sun Devils. Rashada had been headed to Florida, but a multi-million dollar Name, Image & Likeness package fell through. Florida’s “collective” may need a collection agency. Arizona State still finished only No. 46 in the rankings.

Some reports had the Florida collective’s original NIL offer to Rashada at $13 million, and Rashada is only a four-star prospect. He is only the No. 6 quarterback in California and No. 82 overall prospect by 247 Sports. And he has some growing to do. He is 6-foot-4, but only 175 pounds.

Florida still finished No. 14.

“I still have the utmost respect for him and his family,” Florida coach Billy Napier said Wednesday about losing Rashada, but called it frustrating.

“This has created frustrations and issues,” he said. “We’re playing a game we’ve never played. Every college football coach would tell you they’re frustrated. There’s a lot of good things about NIL, but the combination of the NIL and the portal creates a dynamic in which you have the bad things about the NFL, but none of the good things.”

Written by Glenn Guilbeau

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