The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

February 7, 2013

Bama polishes off top class with key pickups

— Alabama coach Nick Saban insists he doesn't get swept up in the signing day drama of recruits' televised announcements and last-minute change of hearts.

"But I must admit I didn't sleep real good last night," Saban said.

Everything turned out just fine for the Crimson Tide on Wednesday when the program that has won three of the last four national championships wrapped up a 25-player recruiting class that was a consensus No. 1 in the country.

The Tide's 25-player class that includes seven players already enrolled featured a focus on runners, defensive backs and pass rushers to help better defend spread offenses.

Five-star defensive linemen A'Shawn Robinson and Jonathan Allen, who could play defensive end or outside linebacker, were among six players who were rated as a five-star prospect by at least one recruiting service.

Allen was rated as the No. 11 player nationally by 247Sports, while Scout.com ranked Robinson as the nation's No. 1 defensive tackle and the fifth-best player in the nation at any position

It's no coincidence that Alabama's only loss last season came against Texas A&M's spread offense.

"I think we added fast-twitch pass-rushing athletic guys to the defensive line category as being a higher priority because of more spread offenses, more athletic quarterbacks," Saban said. "The same things that NFL teams are talking about when they play against RGIII or (Colin) Kaepernick or the guy from Seattle (Russell Wilson) who are athletic and run the ball. We have to be able to adapt to that level of athleticism, and that means we have to be more athletic to do that."

Alabama didn't lose any commitments on signing day and got afternoon pledges from Robinson, a former Texas pledge, four-star defensive tackle Dee Liner and four-star running back Alvin Kamara.

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