TUSCALOOSA, Alabama — Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban indicated on his Thursday night radio show he isn’t expecting offensive tackle D.J. Fluker to return for his senior season.
Asked generally about recruiting needs, Saban said offensive line is a priority because of the expected losses, including the possibility Fluker might turn pro. Fluker is a junior and is slated as a possible first-round draft choice by NFL draft analysts.
“We’re a little bit thin in offensive linemen for the future, because we’re going to lose three guys probably, two seniors and a guy (Fluker) who’s probably going to go out for the draft,” Saban said. “I can’t say that right for sure yet. And we won’t even consider it until after the season. That’s going to be an important spot in recruiting.”
Saban covered other positions as well, although he said there’s no single position where Alabama absolutely has to find somebody.
“We’ve got a couple of good running backs that we’ve got in recruiting, which I think is important because the depth issue has been a little bit of a problem for us,” he said. “I think we have some young receivers and we have a couple of good young receivers coming. I think tight end is a place where there’ll be some opportunities for some young guys to make a contribution.
“We’re going to lose three defensive linemen (seniors Damion Square, Jesse Williams and Quinton Dial). We’ve had some good young guys we recruited this past year, but to continue to recruit those kind of guys is important. We had a good linebacker class but we need a few more.
“We’ve lost so many defensive players that we’re just a little bit thin all the way around on defense. We’re a little bit thin in the secondary. We don’t have enough cover guys. It’s a little bit of a matchup problem for us sometimes.”
He added Alabama coaches look at the type of person each recruit is.
“We want character, quality guys who have the same goals and aspirations as we have,” he said. “When we get guys who don’t necessarily have the same goals and aspirations for themselves that we have, we usually have problems.”
Alabama’s 2013 recruiting class is rated the fifth best nationally by Rivals.com.
Saban also discussed the NCAA rule that bars coaches from visiting schools and evaluating players in the spring. He said that rule has hurt recruiting. General thinking is the rule was instituted because of Saban.
“I knew who all the best players were because I saw them all,” he said.