What it must’ve been like for the Alabama football beat writers to have the knowledge that Dominick Wood-Anderson, a JUCO tight end prospect out of San Diego, was going to announce his commitment at the exact moment Saban was supposed to be at the podium giving updates about Sugar Bowl prep and, of course, Early Signing Day.
Wood-Anderson’s commitment on Twitter didn’t match up exactly with Saban’s presser, but it was pretty close and a guy who’d already rebuffed the Alabama coaching staff’s advances once before, being in the same room with an already tired and probably hungry head coach knowing that same player was most likely about to rebuff again, had to have been as close to a “the phone call is coming from inside the house” moment as any of them would care to have.
That’s all I could think about.
Wood-Anderson was supposed to commit Wednesday in San Diego on a morning talk show, but cancelled at the last minute.
He posted on Twitter at various moments throughout the day saying he was close to a decision. When he finally announced that he would be attending Tennessee, everyone in the Mal Moore Facility must’ve been polishing rocks waiting for the boss’ press conference to be done.
This is the same Tennessee team coached by Saban’s outgoing defensive coordinator, Jeremy Pruitt. Pruitt, if you don’t know, is currently helping his old/current boss prepare for the Sugar Bowl.
No joke, the tension in the room with those two yesterday evening.
Obviously, I buried the lede, here.
Alabama’s Early Signing Day was very strange.
On the positive side of things, they signed 15 of their 18 pledges. The lone three holdouts, tight end Michael Parker and linebackers Quay Walker and Vernon Jackson, are all still expected to sign in February.
They nabbed two new commitments on the day in five-star defensive end Eyabi Anoma (Baltimore, MD) and four-star defensive tackle Christian Barmore (Philadelphia, PA). Wood-Anderson was the expected third, but we all know how that turned out.
Aside from the Wood-Anderson shenanigans, the major disappointment of the day was another of Saban’s children breaking petulant and stealing a cornerback from the old man in four-star Nadab Joseph.
As if Kirby Smart’s Georgia Bulldogs didn’t have enough stacked in their Xanadu of a 2018 recruiting class, they convinced a CORNERBACK (Saban loves corners, remember?) on the day he was supposed to sign with the Tide to instead sign with UGA.
This is important to note, because Saban told reporters yesterday that they hope to sign at least 5 defensive backs, maybe more.
The Tide is expected to lose their entire first string of defensive backs on top of their two situational DBs in the nickel and dime formations. Saban wants to match that number in the 2018 class and Joseph’s commitment had them at four.
Now, it’s back to the drawing board with plenty of blue chip corners uncommitted at the moment, but all predicted to go elsewhere. If the Tide doesn’t get at least 5 of the 6 they need in this class, their depth at corner and safety could be in trouble on top of the impending issue of inexperience.
Still, the final Signing Day is a month-and-a-half away and if the Tide can make a good showing in the 2018 College Football Playoff, maybe the dominoes start falling into place.
In the meantime, Tide fans should rest easy knowing that Nick Saban does not like losing and that several blue chip prospects are still in play.
They have plenty of time to finish in the Top 5, possibly the Top 3 when it’s all said and done.
*UPDATE* 4-star prospect Bobby Brown out of Arlington, TX committed to Alabama Friday evening after de-committing from Texas A&M just two days ago. Brown was seen as a major Tide lean before committing to the Aggies at the end of October. While not officially signed (Brown plans on waiting until February), Saban and his staff feel pretty good about him making it official on NSD Part Deux.
*Note: Saban’s 2015 National Championship team had these three assistants on staff recruiting for him: Kirby Smart, Lane Kiffin and Mario Cristobal. Add current Tide assistant and noted recruiter Tosh Lupoi, you can maybe understand why Saban enjoys the success he has at Alabama: He hires voracious recruiters to get the players he wants.