The 2021 recruiting cycle was unlike that had come before it, with all in-person evaluation cut off for its final nine months. The 2021 class also produced results unlike anything we've ever seen.
For starters, 247Sports has crowned Alabama's 2021 class as the best in college football history. 247 bases that off its proprietary composite ranking formula, which combines its own ratings with its competitors'.
The Tide's 27-man class included seven 5-stars, 16 4-stars and 4 3-stars, good for a 327.91 rating that blew away No. 2 Ohio State (309.49) and 2010 Florida's 324.67 score. Alabama's 2021 haul included the top two offensive tackles in the country, the No. 1 cornerback, the No. 1 center, Nos. 2 and 5 wide receivers, the No. 2 offensive guard, the No. 3 inside linebacker, the No. 3 defensive end, and the No. 4 dual-threat quarterback. The Tide signed a fifth of the top 50 players in the country.
Alabama found particular success in the state of Texas, pillaging the Lone Star State for its top overall player (offensive tackle Tommy Brockermeyer), its top quarterback (Jalen Milore), its top running back (Camar Wheaton), its top wide receiver (JoJo Earle), its top center (James Brockermeyer), and its top inside linebacker (Kendrick Blackshire). Those players will serve as the backbone of the 2022-23 Alabama teams that face Texas in a home-and-home series, led by Steve Sarkisian, Kyle Flood and Jeff Banks -- many of whom recruited them to Alabama.
Alabama's success is and always has been based on Nick Saban, who provided a glimpse into his recruiting pitch over the weekend.
“Everyone is going to tell you in recruiting, ‘Oh don’t go to Alabama. You can play at our school before you play there. They’ve got so many good players there, you won’t be able to play. You could play at our place earlier,'" Saban said. "I think that is the worst stuff people can tell you. First of all, when they tell you that, they’re insulting you…because I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you if you couldn’t play here.”
Of course, the chicken-egg of college football recruiting makes it pretty easy to recruit to a program that has now won six of the last 12 national titles. Alabama capitalized on the 2020 title, won just three weeks ago. with its ninth No. 1 recruiting class in 11 years.
While we can definitively claim the 2021 Alabama recruiting class as the best in the modern history of recruiting -- which, stretching back 20 years or so, is nowhere close to the entire history of recruiting but also not nothing -- the next claim is hard to make definitively, since there is next to no historical research on the topic.
But, still, we can go ahead and declare Jackson State's 2021 class as the best in FCS history, at least post-integration.
Deion Sanders's first class was already off to a great start in the December signing period, but the Tigers added to their lead on Wednesday. Since January, Jackson State has added six players, including 3-star wide receiver Trevonte Rucker, 3-star linebacker Baron Hopson, 3-star wide receiver Aalah Brown, and 3-star tackle Charles Armstrong.
Jackson State's 16-man class ranks No. 85 nationally -- ahead of 45 FBS teams. The next-closest FCS program, according to the 247 composite, is No. 128 Northern Arizona. Jackson State's 2021 class includes three 4-star recruits, which places the Tigers third in their state, behind Ole Miss (six 4-stars) and Mississippi State (five) but ahead of Southern Miss (zero). Jackson State equaled Arkansas's 4-star haul and surpassed those of Missouri, Vanderbilt and South Carolina.
The 16-man haul also does not include 14 FBS transfers, nine of whom signed with Power 5 programs out of high school.
"We’re going to change the game here. We expect to win, we expect to mature these guys, develop these guys and give them an opportunity to be a professional, on the field and off the field, but we’re going to win here. We’re going to turn a lot of heads, I promise you that," Sanders said in December.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.