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February 1, 2012

Alabama claims another national recruiting title

MORE: Top 25 classes breakdown

National Signing Day has come and gone. Alabama had another great showing.

What else would you expect?

Coach Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide won their fourth Rivals.com national recruiting title in five years, and five-star prospects Landon Collins, T.J. Yeldon and Eddie Williams paved the way.

"Alabama wins with defense and a strong running game, so it's no surprise the Tide has beefed up on the defensive side and added two excellent tailbacks," Rivals.com Southeast analyst Keith Niebuhr said. "Alabama did particularly well at linebacker, where all five commits are four-star players, and each will bring a unique skill set to Tuscaloosa.

"Up front, the Tide added to a solid group by landing two four-star defensive tackles. The offense scored big with five-star tailback T.J. Yeldon, one of the most athletic players in the class, and Kenyan Drake, a true speedster.

"The Tide also did extremely well at receiver and defensive back. Collins is the headliner. All in all, this is another stellar Tide class, which is what we've come to expect."

Yeldon, a former Auburn commit, is rated as the second-best running back and No. 12 prospect, while Collins is the second-best safety and No. 17 prospect in the 2012 class by Rivals.com. Williams, an athlete from Panama City (Fla.) Arnold, is also a big-time prospect.

Alabama, which is just reloading after defeating LSU in the BCS title game, also landed a surprise commitment from Korren Kirven out of Lynchburg (Va.) Brookville and signed McDonough (Ga.) Henry County's Dalvin Tomlinson, both four-star defensive tackles.

"Kirven was a big late addition for Alabama and helped keep them on top," Rivals.com national analyst Mike Farrell said. "Many people thought he would follow his school's pipeline to Virginia Tech but Nick Saban and his staff still reeled him in despite his main recruiter, Sal Sunseri, leaving for Tennessee.

THE TOP 10
The nation's top 10 recruiting classes for 2012:
1. Alabama
2. Texas
3. Florida
4. Ohio State
5. Stanford
6. Michigan
7. USC
8. Florida State
9. Miami
10. Oklahoma
COMPLETE TEAM RANKINGS
"It just speaks to the brand power of Alabama right now to swoop in and pull a kid right away from the Hokies at the end."

The five four-star linebackers are Daphne, Ala., recruit Ryan Anderson, Bastrop, La., prospect Denzel Devall, Tyler Hayes out of Thomasville, Ala., Buford, Ga., standout Dillon Lee and Madison (Ala.) Bob Jones' Reggie Ragland.

The Crimson Tide tapped into Florida for two standout wide receivers: four-star Amari Cooper out of Miami (Fla.) Northwestern and four-star Chris Black from Jacksonville (Fla.) First Coast.

"Alabama showed its ability to go into the most competitive recruiting areas in America and pull out top talent when they dipped into Florida and took not one but two of the top receivers in the state," Rivals.com Florida analyst Chris Nee said.

"Cooper and Black are two players capable of making a contribution early in their college careers at a position of need for the defending national champions. Black has the ability to play in the slot or on the outside and is electric with the ball in his hands. Cooper has a knack for getting behind the defense and being a big threat in the vertical passing game."

Four-star defensive backs Geno Smith and Travell Dixon are also solid additions to Alabama's class.

Cyrus Jones, a four-star athlete from Baltimore (Md.) Gilman School, is a nice pickup for Alabama, and three-star defensive tackle Darren Lake out of York (Ala.) Sumter County is considered a sleeper.

Texas finished second in the Rivals.com team rankings followed by Florida, Ohio State and Stanford. Florida State, Michigan, USC, Miami and Oklahoma rounded out the top 10.

Alabama, Florida, Stanford, Florida State and USC each signed three five-star prospects.

Adam Gorney is the West Coast Recruiting Analyst for Rivals.com. He can be reached at adamgorney@yahoo.com. You can follow him on Twitter @adamgorney.



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