Feb. 1, 2012
By RALPH D. RUSSO
AP College Football Writer
Every coach claims to have a great national signing day. Nick Saban actually does - every year. Wednesday was no different. By lunchtime, the Alabama coach had most of his latest highly rated recruiting class locked up.
The national signing period for high school football players opened with the usual plethora of pick-a-cap news conferences and a few high-profile flip-flops. New Ohio State coach Urban Meyer showed that a year away from the coaching didn't hurt his ability to recruit. Meanwhile, Meyer's old school, Florida, followed a mediocre season with a promising signing day - despite having Southern California pluck a couple of blue-chippers from Gator country. Missouri didn't need to leave the state to make the biggest grab of all on signing day, getting a letter of intent from arguably the nation's most celebrated prospect, receiver Dorial Green-Beckham from Springfield, Mo.
In Tuscaloosa, Ala., there were no big surprises for the national champion Crimson Tide. And that was a good thing because Saban and his staff had already lined up a class that most of the analysts had ranked as either the best in the nation or very close to it.
The Tide swept through the South to reload. Alabama went over to Baltimore to get wide receiver Cyrus Jones, scooped up eight players from Georgia, three from Florida, picked up a quarterback, Alec Morris, from Texas, and even dipped into LSU territory to grab highly touted safety Landon Collins from Geismar, La.
Collins' selection of Alabama over LSU last month on national TV was memorable for his mother's obvious and vocal disapproval ("Tigers No. 1," she said, eyes rolling at her son's choice). On Wednesday, with mom by his side, Collins signed his letter of intent at Dutchtown High School.