National Signing Day: Alabama remains king of the recruiting trail

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On signing day, Alabama is still No. 1.

A season without a national championship on the field didn’t slow down coach Nick Saban on the recruiting trail. The five-star prospects flocked to Tuscaloosa, including one who went to high school at Auburn.

National signing day had coaches up at the crack of dawn and fax machines beeping on college campuses around the country — though more and more recruits email their national letter of intent these days.

Hats were donned, a few commitments were flipped and mostly the rich got richer: National champion Florida State, Ohio State, Stanford, Oklahoma and Notre Dame were among the programs that received high marks.

And as usual, most of the Southeastern Conference got glittering grades from the experts. None better than Alabama. The Crimson Tide sat atop the rankings for Rivals, Scout, 247sports and ESPN.

Alabama signed six of 33 players given five-star ratings by Rivals, including Rashaan Evans, a linebacker from Auburn High School who didn’t decide to roll with the Tide until Wednesday, passing joining his hometown Tigers.

No other school had more than three five-stars.

“He kind of lapped the field,” Tom Lemming of CBS Sports Network said about Saban.

This marks the third straight year and fifth time in the last six years Alabama has Rivals’ top-ranked class.

Ultimately, the strength of the class will be determined in a few years. Good luck topping the 2009 Alabama class with AJ McCarron, Trent Richardson, Eddie Lacy, D.J. Fluker and Dre Kirkpatrick.

But when it comes to signing day grades, is Alabama’s latest class Saban’s best yet?

“Yes,” said Mike Farrell, national recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. “They’re competing against themselves, oftentimes.

“This is the highest point total we have ever had at Rivals. They broke the record last year and this year, they broke it again.”

Other news and notes from signing day.

SARK ATTACK: Southern California’s first signing day with Steve Sarkisian as coach could not have gone much better. Three of the highest-rated players that entered the day undecided picked the Trojans, starting with 360-pound offensive lineman Damien Mama from Bellflower, Calif.

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