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How Nick Saban set the tone in recruiting from his very first meeting

No job or no detail are too small for Saban's recruiting juggernaut.

The saying goes that recruiting is like shaving: do it every day or pretty soon you'll start looking like a slob. 

In an excerpt from his new book The Leadership Secrets of Nick Saban, John Talty explained why Saban's face has been baby-bottom smooth for more than 15 years now. 

As the book details, Saban's first staff meeting as Alabama's head coach included all the staff, from his assistant coaches down to the janitors and secretaries. In typical Saban fashion, he defined the roles and expectations for each member of the organization. All jobs touched recruiting, and recruiting was the most important aspect of the program, and so therefore every job was critically important. 

He then turned his attention to the secretaries. He explained how they were the first link to the football program, and they had to be ready to represent accordingly. How the secretaries answered the phone, Saban explained, is how the outside world would view Alabama football.

It was a masterclass in Saban’s attention-to-detail prowess. Most importantly, it set the expectations for every person who went in and out of the building each day. From that day forward, no one had to guess what the top priority for the organization was.

In addition to clearly defining what he expected from his staff, he also clearly defines what he expects from players. Saban borrowed the famed Bill Belichick scouting system to set benchmarks for players at each position. For instance, if a cornerback was under six feet tall with arms shorter than 33 inches, he was unlikely to succeed at Alabama. If an offensive lineman couldn't block with his heels on the ground, he was unlikely to succeed at Alabama. 

“There has to be a specific purpose for every single player that you’re recruiting and understanding I’m bringing this guy here to do this job,” says Trevor Hewett, who spent six years working in Alabama’s recruiting department.

The third key to Saban's success: no opinion of a player, good or bad, was ever final. Saban constantly re-evaluates players and the system that produces his assessment of players to make sure the Tide stays at the cutting edge of football's Xs and Os. 

“When he would go on vacation, we’d load him up with like one hundred tapes,” says Tyler Siskey, who served as his director of player personnel from 2013-2015. “He was watching every single day. He’d watch them, give them grades, and then watch them again. He’s constantly going through the board and readjusting if we get new film in.”

That leads into the fourth key of Saban's success. He works really, really hard at recruiting, and demands each of his assistants do as well. Saban never lets his stubble grow, and demands his staff room look as clean-shaven as the New York Yankees clubhouse

So it's no surprise Alabama's recruiting has been even better than Alabama's football product. Nine Rivals recruiting national titles since 2008 have produced six BCS/CFP national titles since 2009. How does a rival team recruit against Alabama? As one rival told us last year: "You don't."

Read the full excerpt here.