He said that experience taught him that the college ranks "is where I belong, and I'm really happy and at peace with all that."
As for the players, All-America linebacker C.J. Mosley has already said he'll return. So has quarterback AJ McCarron, who will have a talented group of receivers led by freshman Amari Cooper.
"We certainly have to build the team around him," Saban said, adding that a late-game spat with center Barrett Jones showed the quarterback's competitive fire. "I've talked a lot about it's difficult to play quarterback when you don't have good players around you. I think we should have, God willing and everybody staying healthy, a pretty good receiver corps. We'll have to do some rebuilding in the offensive line. Regardless of what Eddie decides to do, we'll probably still have some pretty decent runners. But I think AJ can be a really good player, maybe the best quarterback in the country next year."
The biggest question mark is replacing three, maybe four, starters on an offensive line that paved the way.
Saban emphasized the difficulty of repeating and said he showed the players a video of NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan saying that the first title isn't the hardest — it's the ones after that.
That's because, Saban said, "you have to have the will to fight against yourself."
Now, the 'Bama coach has four titles, including one during his stop at LSU. Saban doesn't wear the championship rings but uses them for a different purpose.
"I just put them on the coffee table for the recruits to look at," he said, cracking up the room.
Saban has already lined up another highly rated recruiting class and already has the next wave of young talents waiting in the wings.