Alabama Football Recruiting: 10 Best Tide Recruits from BCS Era
Alabama has signed an army of big-time recruits in the BCS era, which began in January 1999. This list was tough to put together, as current head coach Nick Saban has collected an exceptional amount of talent.
However, not all the players on this list were signed by Saban. A stud quarterback came to Alabama in 2001, while a highly rated offensive lineman joined to the Crimson Tide in 2006.
Yet Saban is responsible for the arrival of a 5-star receiver in 2008, plus a talented running back in 2009.
Derrick Henry, RB
After originally committing to Georgia, Derrick Henry signed with Alabama in 2013. The 5-star running back came to Tuscaloosa after a fantastic high school career.
Henry rushed for 12,212 yards and 153 touchdowns at Yulee High School in Florida, per 247Sports. At 6'3" and 240 pounds, he combined rare size with deceptive speed and elusiveness.
As a true freshman last season, Henry rushed for 382 yards and three touchdowns. He also had 61 yards and one touchdown on one reception.
Reuben Foster, LB
Reuben Foster came to Alabama with an incredible amount of hype. He may be the best linebacker prospect ever in recruiting.
A 5-star recruit from Auburn, Foster spurned the Tigers late in the process to re-join the Crimson Tide. At 6'1" and 240 pounds, Foster was a beast on the second level. His athleticism, strength, instincts, speed and explosiveness should help him have a terrific career at Alabama.
He's easily one of the best recruits 'Bama has ever landed.
Cyrus Kouandjio, OT
There's a reason why Alabama stayed on Cyrus Kouandjio hard during the 2011 recruiting cycle. That reason is because Kouandjio was extremely talented.
Standing around 6'6", while weighing more than 300 pounds in high school, the 5-star recruit had a ton of upside. Kouandjio played for powerhouse DeMatha Catholic in Maryland, where his agility, athleticism and quick feet were remarkable for his size.
He went on to become a two-year starter at left tackle for the Crimson Tide, per Alabama's website. The Buffalo Bills took him in the second round of the 2014 NFL draft.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S
From Orlando, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was a 5-star prospect Alabama also signed in 2011. He could have been a star at running back or receiver, but Clinton-Dix's most natural position was safety.
It was in the secondary where he became an All-American in 2013. Clinton-Dix led the SEC in interceptions in 2012 with five. The Green Bay Packers selected him in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft.
Trent Richardson, RB
Trent Richardson took his talents to Alabama in 2009, arriving from Florida. He had some hype surrounding him, as it was obvious the 5-star recruit had what it took to be a cornerstone player in college.
He did just that, as Richardson rushed for 3,130 yards and 35 touchdowns for his career at 'Bama. He also chipped in 68 receptions for 730 yards and seven touchdowns in the passing game.
In an era where running backs are no longer drafted high, the Cleveland Browns took Richardson No. 3 overall in the 2012 NFL draft. He is currently with the Indianapolis Colts.
D.J. Fluker, OT
Richardson wasn't the only 5-star talent the Crimson Tide signed in 2009. Alabama also got stud offensive tackle D.J. Fluker that year, and he was outstanding.
From Alabama, Foley was already around 6'6" and 335 pounds in high school. His strength, power and fantastic run-blocking ability made him a coveted prospect.
Before becoming a first-round pick of the San Diego Chargers in 2013, Fluker was an All-American right tackle at Alabama who helped the program win three BCS titles, per Chargers.com.
Mark Barron, S
There was a chance Mark Barron could have played linebacker in college, as he was 6'2" and 218 pounds in high school.
However, Alabama recognized he fit better as a safety. Barron joined the program in 2008, and his career with the Crimson Tide was a roaring success. He finished his career with 235 tackles and 12 interceptions, plus Barron was a consensus All-American in 2011.
He was a first-round pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012.
Julio Jones, WR
Landing Julio Jones may have been what opened the recruiting floodgates for Nick Saban at Alabama. Everyone in the country wanted Jones in 2008, but Saban found a way to convince him to stay home.
Jones was a beast on the perimeter who used size, strength and speed to give cornerbacks fits. The 6'4", 220-pounder caught 179 passes for 2,653 yards and 15 touchdowns before turning pro.
Jones was selected No. 6 overall by the Atlanta Falcons in the 2011 NFL draft. He is regarded as one of the premier players in the league at his position now.
According to Tim Watts of TideSports.com (subscription required), Jones said the following on Feb. 6 in 2008:
"In the end I went with the choose that I felt most comfortable with, the one that felt like home and that was Alabama. I took a lot of visits up there and that's where I felt the best."
Andre Smith, OT
Going back a bit, Alabama scored elite offensive tackle prospect Andre Smith in 2006. Smith hailed from Birmingham, where he dominated defensive linemen at the line of scrimmage. The 5-star blocker was so good that he won "Mr. Football" in Alabama as a high school senior.
He started 38 games for the Crimson Tide, plus Smith won the Outland Trophy in 2008, per Bengals.com. He was selected in the first round of the 2009 NFL draft by the Cincinnati Bengals.
Brodie Croyle, QB
Going back even further, Brodie Croyle definitely warrants being on this list. Remember, more of the emphasis on this list is recruiting, not so much how the players fared on the field.
As a recruit, Croyle was spectacular. The Alabama native hailed from Rainbow City and attended Westbrook Christian School. Croyle stood 6'2", and his arm strength was impressive.
He finished his career at Alabama with 6,382 yards and 41 touchdowns. The Kansas City Chiefs took Croyle in the third round of the 2006 NFL draft, and he retired in 2012.