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Nick Saban recruits with the future in mind

Recruits want to get to the NFL. That much is nothing new and will never change. But the game has changed in the NFL, and the way colleges recruit has to change with it. 

As the idea of a workhorse, every-down running back in the NFL becomes one with the single-bar facemask more and more every Sunday, Nick Saban has altered the way he chases running backs. 

Andy Staples of did a wonderful job detailing Saban's new process, and how he's gotten elite talent to buy in to Alabama's strategy to get its players to the NFL through the fewest possible carries. 

"That's always one of my sales pitches for them," Saban said. "The shelf life of a running back is the shortest of any position in the NFL."

"According to the NFL Players Association, the average career of an NFL tailback lasts 2.57 years," writes Staples. "The more pounding a player takes for free (in high school) or for a scholarship (in college), the less he can take for big money in the NFL. Because backs absorb the hardest hits whether they're carrying or blocking, they are the most at risk to suffer a career-ending injury on a given play. That has made tailback the most expendable position in the NFL, and it has forced Saban and other coaches to change how they use and recruit tailbacks. If high school tailbacks are smart, it should change how they choose a college program. The schools that can divide the workload should have the advantage."

Dig in to the full piece here.