To Be An Auburn Tiger!!!!
Ahhh! The calm before the storm--the days leading up to national signing day. As you can tell, we here at TET don't put as much emphasis on the daily recruiting scorecard, or so you might have noticed. It's not that we don't care, but this Tiger just doesn't like all the hype thrown at a bunch of fickle teenagers who haven't proven anything other than being a cog in the hype machine. They're merely seedlings at this point, which must be cultivated carefully to grow to their full potential of saplings and trees. Sure, modern recruiting leads to pseudo-glory, like the newly recognized 'recruiting national championship', but it's all flash-in-the-pan. What you're hearing is the starting pistol going off for the start of a marathon--and those are won at the end, not the beginning. Besides, I've always said that recruiting is just like sausage and laws: you really don't want to know how it's made...
An interesting article from SI analyzes the top BCS teams from the last five years and where they get their talent. The two main criteria they examine are the percentage of in-state recruits and the percentage of recruits within 200 miles of the campus. We score 50.4% and 31.3%, respectively, while Alabama scores a whopping 70.2% and 54.2%. But these numbers are from the last 5 seasons, which incidently include four of the supposed worst in recent Alabama history. But they still land over 70% of their players from the Yellow Hammer state while we manage a scant half? Can this be right? During the Shula years, which most Bammers reminisce like Americans do the Carter presidency, they still managed to harvest almost 50% more of the domestic crop than we did. How can this be?
Here's the sad, cold truth: They've always been able to do it. Alabama has gotten the creme of the crop from the state for nearly a century. Sure, their dominance isn't anything like it was in the Bear years when Bama would sign guys just so no one else could have them, as was his modus operanti during the days of no scholarship limits. Couple that with the hard fact that if you wanted a remote chance of playing in the NFL in the days before 24/7 sports coverage, you chose a prestige name like Alabama, who had more exposure than any other southern team. Those were the days of the big-name schools, and like cotton, Alabama was king, so they generally did get the pick of the litter. I guess it could be worse. Anyone see Texas' lockdown of in-state talent in that chart?
But all this time since they hired Saban we've been hearing about how they're going to reestablish their recruiting superiority in the state. No more soup for you, Barners! Come back, ten jears!!! News flash, Gumps: You never lost it. You just weren't able to show anything for it with your coaching. Saban may not have to be quite the rehabilitation specialist you thought you needed. Sure, it helps that he's recognized as a persistent recruiter, but all he has to do is get some average ROI from these blue-chippers for the balance sheet to get back into the black. That's something we at Auburn know a little bit about, having done it with lower-quality investment grades for decades.
Saban is definitely pulling in more out of state recruits than probably any Tide coach in history, so I'll be curious to check those numbers again in another 3-4 years. Even I want to throw a flag on Nick's encroachment into the West Georgia/Atlanta market the past three recruiting seasons. I thought we had exclusive rights there for poaching Georgia talent. I don't think we're going to lay down for them though. In between Tuscaloosa and Athens is a nice happy medium for kids that don't like the color red. We'll take it.
I guess in the end, Bammers just needed something to rub in our face two years ago when they threw the Hail Mary that Nick caught in Miami. They thought they were reclaiming something that they never quite relinquished. And like their estimation of national championships, the true numbers were a little off.