Alabama football recruiting: After another Crimson Tide championship, Saban reloads

Streeter Lecka

Alabama is poised to sign another star-studded class.

Alabama just finished a second consecutive national championship season, winning three of the last four BCS titles. Nick Saban isn't leaving, and his coaching staff is apparently remaining intact. Many of its most important pieces will return, including quarterback A.J. McCarron, running back T.J. Yeldon, and left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio.

What do you get for the program that has everything? How about one of the nation's best recruiting classes? With a month to go before Signing Day, the Crimson Tide have verbal commitments from 20 players, including two Rivals five-star recruits and a boatload of four-star prospects.

Cooper Bateman: Nick Saban has never had much use for dual-threat quarterbacks, preferring traditional dropback game managers under center. Bateman fits the mold: A 6'3, 190-lb. pro-style quarterback from Salt Lake City who chose Alabama over offers from LSU, Florida, Auburn, and virtually every school west of the Rockies. Bateman receives a four-star rating from the scouting services; Scout rated him the fifth-best quarterback prospect in this year's class.

Derrick Henry: It wouldn't be an Alabama recruiting class without a top-rated bruising halfback, and Derrick Henry is a monster: 6'3, 241 lbs., a reported 4.58 40-yard dash, and rated the nation's fourth-best halfback by Scout. Henry had offers from virtually the entire SEC East -- Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina -- as well as Florida State, Notre Dame, Southern Cal, Clemson and Miami.

O.J. Howard: Alabama has had O.J. Howard, the nation's top-rated tight end prospect, under a verbal commitment since July 2011. The lack of drama around his commitment hasn't stopped the recruiting services from salivating: Both Rivals and Scout give him five stars, and both name him the nation's top high-school tight end.

Jonathan Allen: The 6'3, 255-lb. Allen is one of the nation's top defensive end recruits, though he also played outside linebacker and defensive tackle in high school. Allen gets five-star ratings from Rivals and Scout, and held offers from the likes of Florida, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Penn State, Stanford, Michigan and Auburn.

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