Looks like Bama Sports Report is going to take care of the heavy lifting this year with their complete breakdown of scholarship numbers for Alabama. Just like last year, our numbers are nearly identical to their numbers. They had Alabama at 96 on NSD (72 returning after seniors and juniors leaving early for the NFL declared and 24 signed including greyshirt rollovers from previous year), putting Alabama 11 over the 85 limit on NSD, which is the same number we have, 11 over.
On NSD, Nick Saban told the media that no one knows what his scholarship numbers are and that Alabama was not at 85 last year (which begs the question, why did he waste scholarships by not giving them to walk-ons to help pay for their last year?). He also told the media that what he signed "was the number of players we could take" (see the 7:35 mark in this video for his exact words) on NSD implying that Alabama had room for everyone they signed and that any new attrition would open more spots for them to add guys later. Alabama has officially added no one thus far, as Duron Carter's status is still up in the air and it's unclear if has signed with Alabama at this point, and 6 guys have left the program since NSD.
Interesting side note: Saban does talk for a few minutes about how he wishes certain aspects of the "business" were more like they were when he was in the Big 10 Conference, specifically in regards to recruiting a player that has already verbally committed to another school. Those comments come immediately after his comments mentioned above and are worth a quick listen.
Here is what the March to 85 looks like:
2011 The March to 85 - Alabama
|Player||Position||Reason for leaving after NSD|
|Glenn Harbin||Defensive Line||Decided to play baseball; Link|
|Demetrius Goode||Running Back||Transfer to North Alabama; Link|
|Petey Smith||Linebacker||Transfer to Holems CC; Link|
|Brandon Moore||Defensive Lineman||Transfer to East Mississippi Community College; Link|
|Corey Grant||Running Back||Transfer to Auburn; Link|
|Keiwone Malone||Wide Receiver||Transfer to Memphis; Link|
|Robby Green||Defensive Back||Transfer to California University of Pennsylvania ; Link|
|Darrington Sentimore||Defensive Lineman||Transfer to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Link|
|Arron Douglas||Offensive Lineman||Died during offseason; RIP, hate having to list him here.|
|Kerry Murphy||Defensive Line||Medical Hardship|
|Kendall Kelly||Defensive Back||Medical Hardship|
|Wes Neighbors||Defensive Back||Medical Hardship|
Back to the oversigning. If Saban is telling the truth and he signed "the number of players we could take" then he should have been at 85 on NSD. Since that time, 6 guys have left their scholarships with 4 more rumored to follow. Meaning, either Alabama is going to go into the season with 74-75 guys on scholarship or Nick Saban wasn't being completely honest when he said they signed the number of players they could take, and the attrition since NSD has enabled him to get down to 85.
If Saban was telling the truth and he truly signed what they had room for, then Saban should be announcing 10-11 (or some number) walk-on players getting 1 year scholarships to take the place of all the guys that left and all of the scholarships that have opened up since NSD, and if he doesn't, those of you who scream about creating opportunities and maximizing scholarships should be screaming at Saban for letting those scholarships go to waste for a year.
Pro-oversigning fans argue that oversigning enables all 85 scholarships to be used. In a few weeks we are going to find out if all 85 are being used at Alabama or if all the attrition since signing day was required in order to get down to 85.
If the attrition since signing day has created scholarship openings and those scholarships are not given to walk-ons for 1 year until they can be given to new recruits next year, then Saban's argument about maximizing scholarships and creating opportunities through oversigning goes out the window. You can't say in one breath that you believe in creating opportunities while in another breath let x number of scholarships go unused. Either the attrition is going to get Alabama back down to 85 or the attrition is going to create openings for walk-ons, one or the other. We'll see what happens.