Photo via Assoicated Press
It seems like the impossible has happened: Alabama lost a national championship. I was shocked, to the point where I had already written an anticipatory article about Bama’s win in the National Championship game.
Next year, however, I can’t see any other teams winning. Bama’s recruiting class has an incredible amount of talent coming in including 7 of the top 40 players in the nation. They have five “5-star” recruits that have already enrolled at the university—on the offensive side, Najee Harris (RB), Alex Leatherwood (OT), Dylan Moses (OLB), Jerry Jeudy (WR), and Tua Tagovailoa (QB/DUAL). Tagovailoa is an excellent quarterback, and Bama may have an interesting dual threat with Jalen Hurts–only a sophomore–and Tagovailoa.
The QB situation must be watched closely, because some would say having two quarterbacks is equal to having none. Who will they start? Will they move either of the versatile players to another position? Until very recently I would check up on the Sarkisian’s past, but of course the Tide just lost him–this raises another important question: who will replace him, and how will they handle this offensive conundrum? It’ll be interesting to watch this develop, because it most definitely has implications for how well the Tide play this season.
Defensively, they have also picked up LaBryan Ray, who has signed a letter of intent.
Let this sink in: these are only the 5-star recruits. They have countless other players in the recruiting class that are performing better than anyone in high school football and should show a lot of promise going into next season.
If anyone was to take a look at the recruiting classes from other top teams, they will realize that Bama absolutely dominated this year. Clemson, the defending national champions, only picked up two top-40 players. They still have a talented squad returning, but it will be without their heart and soul from last season, Deshaun Watson.
Ohio State has the 2nd best recruiting class with 5 top 40 players coming in this year. In addition, the greatness of Urban Meyer and an increase in motivation from their recent disaster in Glendale (losing 31-0 to Clemson in the semi-final), they should prove to be the biggest threat to Alabama’s title hopes.
Remember, Nick Saban is one of the best coaches in history, and he excels in molding recruits into the best players they can be. The Tide’s team cohesion is the envy of all of college football, and with these new recruits to bolster their ranks, they could prove unstoppable.
Alabama is also retaining a good amount of their very talented team from last year. The first name that comes to mind is Jalen Hurts, who wowed everyone with his poise and clear-headedness at the age of 18 by driving down the field to score the go ahead touchdown with just over 2 minutes left against Clemson and throwing 0 interceptions in the game. He played like a champion all season, and it is not hard to believe that he will continue to improve.
For the sake of brevity I won’t go into every impact player that’s staying on the team, but suffice to say that they’ll be formidable next year.
Clemson, FSU, USC, Oklahoma, and Ohio State should all expect to have great seasons (Washington and Penn State not so much). If Alabama can overcome the first hurdle, a season opener against the Seminoles, they’ll be right on track. Realistically, a loss wouldn’t eliminate them from the college football playoff, but it would put them in a hole forcing them to win out to insure their spot in the playoffs.
However, a win against FSU would provide the perfect confidence boost for Alabama to go on a tear throughout the entire season and win the 2018 National Championship.
Nicholai Babis is a sophomore International Studies major at Vassar College. He specializes in College Football. He is a lifelong Seminoles fan, as well as a Rays fan and a Tampa Bay Bucs fan. He grew up in Tampa, Florida. He is a co-owner of the JR report and works for Athletics at Vassar College. He is the college football contributor at the JR Report. Follow Nicholai on twitter @nibabis . Hit him up if you want to discuss CFB, NFL, golf, tennis, and more.