Here is Nick Saban‘s opening comment today at his National Signing Day news conference:
“Signing day is a culmination of a lot of hard work from a lot of people. There is no doubt that the assistant coaches do a good job of supporting as a staff, and this organization does a good job, but other than that, our administration, the university community here does a fantastic job of supporting us in every way. From Dr. Bonner to Dr. Witt to Mal Moore to just about everyone involved.
“The university faculty do a great job each weekend, visiting with guys and doing academic appointments. We have a tremendous amount of people here who contribute to the success that we have. Our recruiting program, because it is all about personal development, academic success, and guys having success on the football field that they’d like to have. Our coaching staff puts in a lot of time and energy, obviously, travel, evaluations, and get a lot of cooperation from high school coaches and other people who are trying to help young people be successful. All these things are really important in the culmination of having a good recruiting class. I think everybody probably always will say that we really like the guys that we got. We had a good recruiting year.
“But, again, I think it’s hard to make predictions about the guys you recruited today, and where they will be two or three years from now. We certainly like the guys that we got. They’ve shown a lot of potential to this point. They’ve been very successful in their production and performance. We feel like we have a really good character class, which is important to us, and we got a lot of guys who are the size and speed we want to play the positions we recruited them for. In some cases, we recruited athletes. But this class is not about rankings that really can’t get verified any way in the future. Just like when you buy a stock today, you can’t really verify where it’s going to be two years from now. The character we talk about, the commitment to a standard of excellence, the work ethic, the relentless quest to improve that these guys need to be able to enhance their development is very important to this group becoming a great recruiting class.
“That gets determined by their performance and how they develop down the road, which we’re responsible for. That’s what we’re here for. We’re here to help them to that. We’re pleased with the class academically, athletically, and from a character and attitude standpoint. I think it’s really appropriate for me to talk about the great fan support we have here, the great enthusiasm. The support we get at all of our games. The atmosphere and environment created by the passion we have here with our fans is something that — probably each and every one of these guys came to a game. And they saw that and wanted to be a part of that. They also went to other games at other places where our fans show up are very supportive of our team. That positive energy makes a huge impact on our ability to be successful here. It’s probably very important in the success we’ve been able to have here. Our players are someone else who do a good job of serving in the recruiting process, in terms of their time and attention to the young people. I think it’s
important that every guy who was committed to us signed with us today.
“I know on days like this, we only have so many spots, and you all list 42 guys in the newspaper, keep your eye on, that we might get today, and everybody focuses on the 40 guys we didn’t get. But we really only have so many spots to get them. We feel really good about the guys we were able to attract here. It’s the reality of recruiting that things happen this way. I wish we could give more opportunities to more people. But we all understand the rules we have to live in and with, that we’ve created, that are very fair for all of us. You can’t get every player. It’s not going to happen. We’re really pleased with the guys we have. I really do want to thank all the people who contributed to this recruiting class, whether it’s the university community, the academic staff, our coaching staff, the athletic administration here, who all contribute to the success of recruiting and set the table for us, and doing things we need to have a first-class program.
“Just because you pick the puppy dog with the biggest feet doesn’t mean it’s going to grow up to be the biggest or best hunting dog. That’s as simple as what I learned in West Virginia when I was little.”