As Bud Elliott points out, that’s part of the process.
Greg McElroy is praising Da’Shawn Hand, the No. 1 player from the class of 2014, who was a third stringer in Alabama’a amazing front seven that contained 22 four- and five-star prospects — more than Michigan State’s entire roster. Bielema makes the off-hand comment that his staff lets players know that if they choose Alabama, they will be a third stringer because everyone on the roster is just as talented as they are.
And yet kids still do it. At some positions, Alabama actually does a good job of getting many players in. For instance, despite being in nickel for almost the entire game, 13 Crimson Tide defensive linemen and linebackers played double-digit snaps, though none were freshmen…
I’m reminded of an old Steve Spurrier quote from 20 years ago that I can’t seem to find. The gist was him wondering aloud how Bobby Bowden convinced the No. 1, 2, and 3 players at one position to sign in the same class.
Amazing facilities that look like they belong in Dubai are nice, but once a roster fills up, the results had better follow or the recruiting will fall off. That means wins, and it means NFL dollars. Prospects are more willing to come and sit the bench for a year or two if they are convinced a school will develop them and put them in the league. At Alabama, LSU, Ohio State, Florida State and a few other pro factories, that’s been the case this decade. Schools have to convince recruits their development is so good that the chance they make the NFL at one of the powers is considerably better than at a non-power in order to overcome the lack of playing time.
The downside is what happens when the dream dies for some of those recruits. That’s not Saban’s fault. It’s simply the collateral damage of a system that tries to marry wins and losses to some amorphous goal of academic support.