Even Nick Saban isn’t immune to the twists and turns of the recruitment process as national signing day approaches.
On Thursday, Alabama suffered three decommitments from its top-rated 2015 recruiting class.
The Tide lost 4-star offensive lineman Isaiah Prince, 4-star cornerback Rico McGraw and 3-star cornerback Montrell Custis in a span of hours.
Updated UA commitment list after 3 commits are removed while waiting to make final decision http://t.co/GQLzXbA6E3 @BamaOnline247 @247Sports
— Tim Watts (@TimWatts_BOL) January 29, 2015
Most teams would panic at the thought of losing three commits in a day.
But most programs aren’t built like Alabama.
For starters, the Tide’s class has 23 commitments and it still ranks ahead of No. 2 Florida State by more than 22 points in the 247Sports team rankings.
Even if they don’t finish with any additions, their current group is still likely to be among the elite classes assembled in this cycle.
It’s awfully impressive batch of recruits, considering that 20 of the Tide’s 23 pledges have a 4-star ranking or higher. Included in that number are six 5-star prospects and eight total players ranked among the nation’s top 100 players overall.
Despite the loss of Prince, the Tide still have five offensive linemen committed—including 4-star standouts Lester Cotton and Richie Petitbon.
While losing two corners is a significant blow, the loss is mitigated by the Tide’s acquisition of top corners Tony Brown and Marlon Humphrey last year, along with the presence of 5-star corners Kendall Sheffield and Minkah Fitzpatrick, who committed in this cycle.
Also, considering how Saban and his staff have closed in recent years, don’t expect the Tide to be idle down the stretch.
If anything, the extra spots that have opened up make the Tide a bigger factor heading into a national signing day that may have otherwise been quiet.
Two years ago, the Tide pulled stud recruits such as Reuben Foster, A’Shawn Robinson and Alvin Kamara in the days leading up to national signing day.
Last year, linebacker Rashaan Evans chose the Tide over Auburn in a signing-day surprise.
Another note: CeCe Jefferson visited Alabama Friday on his way to Ole Miss and Sunday on his way back from Ole Miss.
— Jamey Barnes (@JBarnesALintel) January 26, 2015
This year, there are still a handful of top prospects still on the radar of Saban and his staff.
Offensively, the Tide are chasing 4-star receivers Daylon Charlot and K.J. Hill, plus 4-star offensive lineman and current Ole Miss commit Drew Richmond.
On the other side of the ball, 5-star defensive end CeCe Jefferson is a target the Tide are aggressively pursuing.
It’s also not out of the question that Saban and his staff have other prospects they are pursuing under the radar.
Regardless of how Alabama closes, they are still in a strong position to land their fifth consecutive top-ranked recruiting class when the dust settles on national signing day.
Sanjay Kirpalani is a national recruiting analyst for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.