Looks like Alabama is getting a jump start on the attrition needed to clear out enough space for their 2011 class that is projected to be drastically oversigned. As mentioned in previous posts, Alabama has an extremely small senior class (roughly 8 scholarship players) yet they already have 19 verbal commitments and 2 greyshirt commitments to their 2011 recruiting class.
Simply put, there will have to be casualties. Why? Because it appears that schools like Alabama simply won't allow themselves to take a small class of say 12-15 guys (which is what they really should be taking based on the size of their senior class and the number of juniors expected to go to the NFL early). Why? One reason is because if they don't take a full 25-28 (regardless if they have room for them or not) someone else will get those players and oversigning is just as much about improving your own roster as it is about keeping players away from your rivals. It comes with a price tag, however, as guys like BJ Scott and Star Jackson, once promising stars with bright futures at Alabama, end up in places such as Georgia State and South Alabama - but hey, you have to make room somehow if you intend to take the NCAA max every single year.
That is the real issue, the NCAA allows schools to take 25 new players every year, but limit the roster to 85 players each year. The NCAA does this so that schools that have legitimate shortfalls can fill them, but the NCAA failed to realize that there would be schools out there that are going to take the max every year and push out the injured or lesser players to make room for new, healthier players with more potential in an attempt to gain a competitive advantage or to keep players from going to rival schools.
BJ Scott appears to be poised to take the first slot on the attrition list for Alabama this year.
B.J. Scott, one of the jewels of Alabama's top-ranked 2008 recruiting class, is looking to transfer and may be headed to South Alabama, according to two sources close to the situation.
According to one of the sources, who asked not to be identified, Scott has not yet been granted a release from Alabama, but a transfer could be complete by the end of the week.
The 5-foot-11, 193-pound Scott played in six games this season, recording six tackles and one interception before undergoing season-ending ankle surgery earlier this month. He was working with the first-team defense at cornerback opposite Dre Kirkpatrick in the spring, but was beaten out by junior-college transfer DeQuan Menzie in fall practice and was later passed on the depth chart by freshman Dee Milliner during the season.
Scott played in nine games at receiver as a freshman in 2008, making two catches for 7 yards, before redshirting in 2009 while he switched positions. A five-star prospect coming out of Prichard's Vigor High in 2008, he was listed as the No. 1 athlete prospect in the country and the No. 19 prospect overall by ESPN.com and the No. 4 prospect in the state according to Press-Register's Elite 18.
Perhaps BJ Scott was not interested in a Medical Hardship Scholarship from Alabama's Athletic Department. Perhaps due to the amount of attention Alabama has received regarding their use of medical hardships one is not being offered.
One thing is for certain, no matter what else you read Alabama has recruited over their expected budget and that will have an affect on players such as BJ Scott and the 8-10 others that will be leaving the program in order to make room for a full 25 in this year's recruiting class.
Typically, this is the off season for oversigning.com as there is just not a lot of news during the football season and it's usually pretty quiet until the football season ends and the recruiting season takes center stage. However, the Wall Street Journal seems to be busy interviewing former Alabama players regarding their departures from Alabama on the heels of Nick Saban's bloated recruiting classes. The general thinking here at this site is that Nick Saban and Alabama (along with other SEC schools) grossly oversign their roster and find media-friendly ways to get their roster down to 85 scholarship players by the final day before NCAA violations for being over the allowable limit. Obviously, this is done to gain a competitive advantage by sifting through more players to find the best possible players, among other reasons.
We chronicled this journey last year in our March to 85 as Saban went over his projected budget by 10 recruits and sure enough 10 scholarship players hit the bricks. There were 3 medical hardships, a couple of academic casualties, some grey shirt players, and then the mysterious story of Star Jackson. We were told that Star Jackson left because he wanted to go somewhere and start - he believed he had enough talent to start for another school and wanted to get more playing time in hopes of having an NFL career. He ended up at Georgia State as the 3rd string quarterback.
Jackson's stats at Georgia State: 5/10 passing for 42 yards and 8 rushes for 17 yards for the year!!!
Does anyone honestly believe that Nick Saban would let a 3rd string QB at Georgia State take up a QB scholarship at Alabama?
Regardless, as mentioned above, the WSJ has been poking around the Alabama program and questioning former players who have left the program recently and what they are hearing from former players is not exactly complimentary. In a previous piece, they spoke with former Alabama players who were placed on medical hardships who went on record saying they thought they were pushed out in order to make room for new recruits; one player even referred to it as a loophole that was being taken advantage of by Alabama.
Round 1: Alabama's Unhappy Castoffs
In their latest piece, the WSJ spoke with 3 of 4 players who were announced to have been released by Alabama for violation of unspecified team rules. Turns out there is no record of any rule violations and the players claim they left on their own free will and that Saban said they broke team rules to save face in recruiting.
The three players said they believe Mr. Saban falsely portrayed the circumstances of their departures to protect the image of his program. Mr. Saban had previously come under scrutiny by the media for offering scholarships to more incoming recruits than the school could accommodate under NCAA scholarship limits. This relatively common practice, which is known as "oversigning" is not prohibited by the NCAA. It allows a coach to improve his roster by giving him a larger pool of talent to choose from. But it also eventually forces the coach to get rid of a few scholarship players he no longer wants—which can put him at risk of scaring away future recruits.
If Mr. Saban had said the players decided to transfer because they didn't believe they would have a chance to play at Alabama, the players said, it would have provided ammunition for rival coaches competing for the same recruits. But if the players were seen as disciplinary cases, they said, Mr. Saban's recruiting methods wouldn't be viewed as the problem. Mr. Saban, Mr. Preyear said, "was just making himself look good for the media, and making us look bad."
Stay tuned in on this topic as it is very likely that the WSJ is not finished with the topic of oversigning or the University of Alabama. With recruiting season approaching and schools like Alabama and LSU already positioned to oversigning in large numbers given their relatively small senior classes, we anticipate a good bit of news on the oversigning front in the coming months. Of course, all of that could be avoided if SEC coaches simply state up front before national signing day what their number of openings are (85 - [# of Seniors + # of Juniors going to the NFL early]) and then sign what they have room for on National Signing Day.