Sunday Feature — Nick Saban & Justin Taylor discussion

Newspapers usually reserve Sunday’s for a large expose on a topic, or interesting features that aren’t usually printed in the weekly newspapers.

Since today is Sunday – and since I am still irate about last night’s basketball game – and since Nick Saban is one day removed from these negative comments from the mother of a high school recruit who was made famous a few weeks ago

…we thought we would run a random conversation on Saban and many of the things that come with him — over-recruiting, finding loopholes in NCAA rules and calling out sports agents.

The blog entry quoted below links through to a recent article in the Atlanta-Journal Constitution about the very interesting ‘recruitment’ of Georgia running back, Justin Taylor.

Via the AJC, we get the awesome story of how oversigning rules are affecting Nick Saban and his notorious recruiting efforts. You see, in years past, Saban (or Houston Nutt, or a select few others in the SEC) would garner commitments from as many recruits as possible, regardless of how many scholarships were actually available. Then, when push came to shove, Saban would use any means necessary to get under the NCAA limit. He’d “grayshirt” players, stash them in jucos, and even yank the scholarship of players if need be. Now that the SEC has limited each school to signing 25 kids per class, weasels like Saban have to get creative.

Justin Taylor is a running back from North Atlanta High School that committed to Alabama in February. His commitment made him the seventh player to commit to Alabama for this recruiting class. Except Alabama doesn’t see it that way. To Saban and Alabama, Taylor is the 26th player committed, and that’s just one too many. So what do they want him to do? Sit a year. Not redshirt, not grayshirt, not go to a junior college, but literally sit. Stay home in Georgia and work a job, and then in January, they’ll have a spot for him with next year’s class. As a sign of Saban’s and Alabama’s commitment to Taylor, Saban is willing to sign “a piece of paper” to show that they’re keeping their word. Seems to me that keeping their word would be honoring the commitment and scholarship promises of the first 25 kids they recruited, not signing a worthless piece of paper. As for Alabama holding a spot for Taylor next year, this sums up my thoughts quite nicely. Nick Saban is a great football mind, and has one of, if not the most impressive college resume of the last 30 years. At the same time, however, he’s as sleazy as it gets.

Taylor’s high school coach and former NFL fullback, Stanley Pritchett then chimed in with some information in this link.

“I think it was both Justin’s injury and that Alabama has too many commitments. But Coach Saban said it was just the injury. They told me they talked to their trainers and the doctor who did the surgery and that Justin was on schedule with his rehab but he wasn’t really where he needed to be. I guess it was because he wasn’t getting every-day treatment. He goes 2-3 times per week but not every day like they do in college or the NFL. They felt like he was kind of behind on his rehab. I don’t think he’s behind on his rehab. He’s jogging and doing everything he’s supposed to be doing. The first few months after a torn ACL, you can’t take it too fast because you might re-injure it. After Alabama told me all of that stuff, I called his trainer and she thinks he is progressing well. I don’t know. Alabama told me it was because of his knee. They didn’t feel like he would be ready to come in August and compete. But I guess you could say it was both. Look at their number of commitments [27], and they’re still recruiting kids. You know it’s going to be about the numbers. They’re trying to say the knee but it’s really about the scholarship numbers, in my opinion … I’m disappointed. I’m disappointed with the whole process. If a kid commits and the college accepts it, then the college should honor it.”


“Coach Saban explained everything and never said anything about the scholarship numbers. Well, the only thing he did say was that the NCAA had a rule about signing 25. He didn’t like the rule or whatever, blah blah blah, and all that. He said this was because of Justin’s knee and nothing else. I asked Coach Saban about the grayshirting. I said ‘What does this mean? What do you want him to do from summer time until December?’ He said Justin would stay in Atlanta, that he would be committed to Alabama but that he could be recruited by anybody. They said he couldn’t go to Alabama yet but that he could take some classes at a community college as a part-time student while getting more rehab. I wanted to know about all of that because that will be two years out of football for Justin. I told Justin ‘If you’re good with that, then I’ll support you.’ Personally, I wouldn’t be good with that, though. I would go to a Plan B if it was me.”

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17 Responses to Sunday Feature — Nick Saban & Justin Taylor discussion

  1. ncsumatman 01/29/2012 at 1:46 PM #

    I don’t see this as a big deal. Every school offers way more scholarships than they have spots for. It’s a reality that in order to fill a class you have to recruit more than 25 players. So what’s a wildly successful coach to do, tell 13 studs who wait until the Under Armour game to announce their commitment there is no longer a spot for them because 13 marginal recruits jumped on their offer before the coach could even complete his sentence? Scholarships are merit based, and conditional as well, I see nothing wrong with this.

  2. hoop 01/29/2012 at 2:07 PM #

    Try telling that to the kid who gets left out, through no fault of his own, and by signing earlier missed out on a chance to visit other schools and end up at one that actually wanted him.

    How would you feel if you had multiple job offers and accepted one only to be told that they found someone else and btw all those other job offers would have loved to have you but now those positions are filled too. You are SOL.

    They are taking kids’ dreams and trashing them.

  3. Gene 01/29/2012 at 2:26 PM #

    Within limits, offering a couple of extra scholarships doesn’t hurt, because you may have a marginal guy academically, who doesn’t qualify.

    What the SEC was doing was taking things to another level. They basically recruited every player they possibly could, they didn’t care, if they had a spot for them, stashed them somehow or somewhere and when a spot became open they let them on the team or if they weren’t good enough they cut their scholarship.

    No other conference over recruited the way the SEC has the past many years. It’s one reason they are so dominant in football. They get to keep every prospect they liked in house, while other conferences, like the ACC, B1G, etc. would’ve had to let prospects go and watch them take offers from other schools.

  4. RednWhite17 01/29/2012 at 2:45 PM #

    ^^ I couldn’t disagree more.

    First, saying that every coach oversigns is not the issue. The issue is that coaches like Saban are taking the practice to such a ridiculous extreme. I mean seriously, what is Saban actually offering to these kids? It sure as hell isn’t a “scholarship” in the traditional sense, b/c those can’t be taken away based solely on performance on the field. If Saban isn’t upfront with kids about that reality then he’s deliberately misleading them, and THAT is just plain wrong.

    Secondly, you pose the question “What’s a widely successful coach supposed to do?” How about they focus on the evaluation side of recruiting instead of simply using these underhanded tactics to “cast a wider net”?

    Third, yes scholarships are merit-based. But a recruit’s merit is supposed to be judged BEFORE they step on campus, not after. This is college, not the NFL. If you play bad in the NFL, you get cut. No problem there. But if you yank a scholarship, then you’re not just kicking the player player off the team. For most kids you’re essentially KICKING THEM OUT OF SCHOOL. You’re taking away their access to an education which, in theory, is supposed to be the main reason they attend school in the first place.

    The only honest claim you can make is that what Saban is that doing is OK “by the letter of the law”… and I respond by saying that what he (and other like him) are doing is despicable and a detriment to college football as a whole.

  5. VaWolf82 01/29/2012 at 2:51 PM #

    It’s a very big deal. It basically shows that Saban is lying POS.
    We lambasted Bunting when he did this to a kid. Just because Saban is a real football coach doesn’t make it right.

    Some of the lawyers around here can help me out…but verbal contracts used to be binding. Someone needs to take his ass to court over this.

  6. BJD95 01/29/2012 at 3:16 PM #

    If you needed MORE proof how shitty the system is to student athletes – there ya go.

    But if you really needed evidence, your IQ was probably around room temperature to begin with.

  7. ncsumatman 01/29/2012 at 3:59 PM #

    Not saying every coach over signs, every coach over offers. They have to, you don’t target 30 guys when you need a class of 25, you target 80. Need proof, go to and see how many prospects have offers from us for 2013. I counted 36 already, and TOB hasn’t even had his summer camps. From what has been written here, he needs to offer no one else, in fact, he has already “cast a wider net” than should be allowed.

    Rednwhite, this kid hasn’t signed a LOI, isn’t on campus, and can still go anywhere in the country he wishes. Any kid that has a realistic shot at playing under scholarship at Alabama shouldn’t have a hard time find more access to an education.

    VA, I am a lawyer, and here is what I would think about the oral agreement: my understanding is that scholarships are on a year to year basis subject to renewal, meaning anyone who signs a LOI only has a one year commitment. However, in this situation, I would argue an offer has been made, but acceptance can only be made by signing a LOI in compliance with the NCAA. The offer has been rescinded prior to the time of acceptance, so there is no agreement. If I’m wrong, and it is for four years, then the statute of frauds would kick in and it would be required to be in writing.

    With all the publicity this matter has garnered over the years, I would think any recruit would need to evaluate the schools they are looking at and make their own decision. Also, it doesn’t seem to upset Justin Taylor.

    (in all fairness, NCSU grad 02, Alabama Law 06)

  8. Wulfpack 01/29/2012 at 4:16 PM #

    You’d also need to be able to prove damages. If the kid has a chance to go somewhere else, and he doesn’t try, then he did not attempt to mitigate damages and he’d likely be SOL. I think it is safe to say an Alabama recruit could play for a million other schools.

    I get both sides of the argument. I do think this happens more today than ever before. In other words, it ain’t just Saban that’s doing this.

  9. john of sparta 01/29/2012 at 4:50 PM #

    this “kind of stuff” will eventually lead to the end of the NCAA.
    contract law/restriction of trade/monopoly/take your pick.
    and concerning actual ‘jobs’: that happens, too. especially
    in the entertainment industry.

  10. packalum44 01/30/2012 at 9:44 AM #

    F*** Nick Saban. Assuming this was about the progress of the knee healing, and he’s only getting treatment 2-3 times a week, wouldn’t you want him to come to school where he could get it 7 days a week to speed the recovery?!!!

    I bet this kid is fielding a bunch of phone calls from other schools now I hope he tells Nick to go f— off.

    Get him to State we fix knees up real good!!!

  11. Daily Update 01/30/2012 at 10:19 AM #

    It is the kids fault. All they have to do is research Nick Saban or another coach he has committed to see that this stuff can happen. If you don’t want this to happen, then don’t commit to coaches like Saban or other football factories that will drop kids on a dime to improve their overall talent.

  12. VaWolf82 01/30/2012 at 10:58 AM #

    It is the kids fault.

    No, Saban is a lying POS and you can’t shift the blame anywhere else. I wouldn’t expect a kid to see through Saban’s BS, but the parents should be looking out for their kid. With that said, it’s still Saban’s fault whenever he screws over a kid.

  13. wolfman1 01/30/2012 at 11:37 AM #

    Not to change the subject, but still talking about dirty dealings in the recruiting process, it looks like national signing day will come and go WITHOUT the NCAA announcing their long “overdue” decision on UN-Cheat punishment…which means that high school kids they are going after will get the con job from his recruiting coach at UN-Cheat that “this is no big deal, and we won’t get probation, scholarship reductions or bowl bans” I’m not sure whether or not an athlete can back out after a national signing day commitment without loss of any eligibility. But what I am sure of is that the other schools on those players’ lists are filling up their scholarship slots. So even if someone wants out after hearing that the hammer has come down, there may not be many good places to go to. Even if State is not in the running as second choice for a single one of the athletes affected, it really stinks that the NCAA would let young kids act without the benefit of full knowledge so they can make an informed choice. Wake up NCAA!!

  14. Texpack 01/30/2012 at 5:24 PM #

    The most interesting fact about Nick Saban is that not a single member of his staff at MSU elected to join him in Baton Rouge when he took the LSU job. That tells you how much people enjoy working for him.

    I would think that once a school gets down to 10-12 offers to uncommitted recruits and 6-8 scholarships left that the fair thing to do is to talk to the kids who are marginal and let them know they might get squeezed out or to start pulling offers from kids that you don’t think you’re going to sign.

  15. tjfoose1 01/30/2012 at 7:38 PM #

    “Every school offers way more scholarships than they have spots for. ”

    No, they don’t.

    Your argument is factually and ethically incorrect. I would’ve thought that educated and informed Wolfpack fans would loath to use the ‘everybody does it’ defense after it was embarrassingly employed by unx and exposed to be the farce that it is.

  16. tjfoose1 01/30/2012 at 7:43 PM #


    Target offer
    Recruit offer

    Scholarships are renewed annually. The LOI only binds the school to one year.

  17. ncsumatman 01/30/2012 at 7:53 PM #

    I’m confused, 36 offers showing by ncsu in 2013, if the 25 lowest graded recruits commit tomorrow, is ncsu done recruiting? No. We don’t have that problem, some do.

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