Lane Kiffin on Nick Saban’s recruiting greatness

Mythical national champions in recruiting again in 2013? It's looking that way. Nick Saban (pictured) is off to a fast start for next year, including commitments from two Georgia superstars (AP)

Mythical national champions in recruiting AGAIN in 2013? It's looking that way. Nick Saban is off to a fast start for next year, including commitments from two of Georgia top juniors (AP)

Alabama’s Nick Saban is the greatest combination of head coach, chief recruiter and defensive coordinator in college football.

He’s lifted two BCS crystal balls over his head within the last four years, while also capturing four out of the last five mythical national championships in Rivals.com’s team recruiting rankings.

Recruiting? There hasn’t been somebody as powerful and mighty parade throughout the Southeast (to round up blue-chippers) since General Sherman’s march.

And Nick Saban makes the chaos of recruiting look so controlled. On last month’s signing day, while many of his SEC contemporaries were sweating bullets sitting next to fax machines, Saban was telling reporters how the day was drama-free. He also chatted a little bit about that No. 1-ranked class, which was comprised of eight of Georgia’s top prospects.

How does Nick Saban reach the pinnacle of success with his recruiting classes year after year after year? Can anybody in SEC land or around these parts out-recruit Saban?

We asked one of his former SEC adversaries, Lane Kiffin, who went head-to-head against Saban in recruiting during his brief pit stop at Tennessee. Most people remember Kiffin calling then-Florida coach Urban Meyer a “cheater” on that infamous 2009 signing day (FYI: They’ve kissed and made up), but he also threw a verbal jab at Alabama’s living legend.

Flash forward to now: Kiffin is coach at USC, which is ranked No. 1 for next year in one ESPN poll. We asked Kiffin: Can anybody in the SEC out-recruit Nick Saban?

“Wow, I don’t know … he’s tough,” Kiffin told the AJC. “He’s just an A+ in all the categories. He’s A+ as a coach and as a teacher. But then he’s also an A+ when you put him at a place as powerful as Alabama. It’s a tough combination putting Nick Saban at Alabama. It’s tough, just like putting Urban Meyer at Florida. Those are powerful places with great coaches who are both great teachers.

“With Nick, probably the thing that really puts Nick over the top is how many players he puts into the NFL, and that he runs NFL systems on offense and defense. That was the one thing about Florida: They were not NFL-based with Urban’s offense and defense. That was an advantage for us in terms of recruiting, where going against Alabama we did not have that advantage because they are NFL-oriented in their systems.”

Nick Saban is off to another fast start with his 2013 recruiting, with nine early commitments. Could there be another No. 1 class in the making? It’s looking that way. All nine are ranked 4-stars or higher, including one of the Georgia’s top running backs (Walton’s Tyren Jones) and 5-star LB Reuben Foster of Troup County. The Crimson Tide are also the frontrunner for Grayson’s Robert Nkemdiche, the nation’s top-ranked prospect.

How does Saban do it? They say he’s the hardest-working man in the recruiting business. But why, some ask, why would these kids continue to go to Alabama after Nick Saban pulled the last-minute grayshirt trick on a couple of long-time commitments and he was quoted as saying “I don’t know anybody” who cuts players after accusations of doing just that?

Why? Maybe they’re simply blinded by greatness.

GUESS WHAT JUST HAPPENED?

IT’S NEVER BORING IN THE WACKY WORLD OF RECRUITING

– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog

Got an item? mcarvell@ajc.com

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277 comments Add your comment

Dawg48

March 9th, 2012
12:07 am

Greyshirt

March 9th, 2012
12:10 am

cfarris10

March 9th, 2012
12:22 am

Richt: “We’re gonna start recruiting earlier this year” Hah Roll Damn Tide

Who cares !!!!!

March 9th, 2012
12:22 am

ROOOOOLLLLL THAT TOILET PAPER IN MY A$$ !!!!!!

Atleast richt is not begin recruits to switch..

March 9th, 2012
12:29 am

their commitments like lil satan was trying with wiggins and ramsey HAHAHA !!! ” IF YOU’RE NOT A DAWG….YOU’RE JUST A DAWG POOP !!!! SIC EM !!

BullDawg

March 9th, 2012
12:54 am

The number of recruits that Satin has mistreated is getting higher all the time. What a shame. If you cheat to get to the top, what did you really accomplish? He has proven over and over he doesn’t think he can win doing it the right way!

UGA comedy (RTR)

March 9th, 2012
12:55 am

Where’s the smack talk now? I saw where Trey Mathews will probably visit Alabama this weekend. AND GUESS WHAT? Our head ball coach will show up to meet him, unlike Mark Richt. How can Richt skip out on Reuben Foster? Too funny. You can’t make this stuff up in Athens.

14 Titles

March 9th, 2012
1:10 am

22 SEC titles
14 national titles

More crystal–on the way!! Nick’s reloaded with another #1 class. RTR!!

Georgia Tide Fan

March 9th, 2012
1:16 am

It’s good to be the King! Spring practice starts today. Looking forward to another record setting A-Day.

Tdawg

March 9th, 2012
1:58 am

RTR, tree muder’s, perverts and a lying snake in the grass of a head coach. You can’t make that chiot up. Not even at the UAL. Then again you don’t have to make it up. It’s all true. Kind of funny how a Bama fan is harping on a dawg commit that will probably be taking a trip to Alabama when there prized recruit is constantly visiting UGA. Only in Alabama. Don’t worry about the Mathews kid. He is all dawg. Why anyone would want to be a turd is beyond my thinking.

Jesus Christ

March 9th, 2012
3:58 am

Saban is a better Christian than Richt. Case closed.

Rationale

March 9th, 2012
4:06 am

By the way Jesus, Coach Richt would not debate your comment. So, neither will I, because that assessment is not left to us to judge.

7576DAWG

March 9th, 2012
4:31 am

First lane Kiffin wouldn’t be much without his father. When Southern Cal get off probation and is at full strength Southern Cal will be a force to be reckoned with but not because of their coach. It’s because they have a great atmosphere for football because the weather is so good in South California. Sothern Cal will always get first choice with most players in California.

Stephen A.Dogg : Give praise to whom praise is worthy. Saban has earned what he deserves.

March 9th, 2012
5:04 am

Love him or hate him Saban wins. He has three mythical national titles in less than nine years. He is currently averaging a national title every 3 years. He outworks his competition in the SEC and gets the rewards associated with that success. It’s great to be a Tide fan right now because they know Saban is going to keep working to be the best as long as he remains there.

Who would you want to play for as a 4 or 5 star recruit ? A man that has won THREE national titles in nine years or a man of high character and good Christian morals but has won ZERO national titles in twelve years ? This is the ultimate recruiting edge and tool Saban wields to lure the best recruits out of the state of Georgia. Come to Alabama for title rings or go to Georgia to play for a gentleman who still lives off the legacy as OC at ACC FSU when they won two m.n.championships back in the 90s (and go to Georgia to become blog board fodder of its unhappy delusional fans). No wonder Saban is so successful he causes recruits to go against paternal and home state wishes to roll with the Tide.

Saban has earned what he deserves, just like Richt (at Georgia) deserves credit for what he has (or has not earned). Doesn’t hurt to give credit when it’s due, but for me it will never be Roll Tide. No matter what it’ll be Go Dogs !!

7576DAWG

March 9th, 2012
5:11 am

When you see all the top recruit’s that end up at Alabama it show their ignorance, lack of state loyalty, and being easily manipulated by a great salesman.
I had the opportunity to get into sales after I graduated so since I wasn’t tide down I sold insurance for a large national company for a year. Sales were not hard but I constantly had to go to training class as to how to close the deal. I found it is pretty easy as long as you are willing to concentrate on only the positives and don’t ever talk about the negatives , which there are tons of whether you are selling insurance or real estate or anything. You use the persons ignorance of the subject to always make sure you get back to the positives. My moral, ethical and other values like integrity would not let my conscience be a salesman of any kind so I went into another field but when I see coaches like Saban and Spurrier and Myers and Miles fill their numbers up every year it is not by accident. They are all great salesmen who just don’t talk about any negatives which there is always plenty of and they will lie in a heart beat to make a recruit question whether he should go to a school like Georgia. A good example was Kirby Smart would remind every recruit from Georgia that Mark Richt would be fired in 2011 and them being 17 year old kids , they believed them.
The fact of the matter is Mark Richt is going to get a 3 year extension soon and Georgia has put 40 or 50 % more players in Pro ball in the last 10 years than Alabama so somebody is being lied to. Mark Richt is the type of recruiter that gives all the negative along with the positives and then lets the recruit decide without pressure. He wants to make sure the recruit really wants to go to Georgia but more important CMR wants the recruit to know it was his decision. Saban on the other hand talks the recruit into going to Alabama and making him think it was his chose.
The question is how does CMR ever get any recruits to come to Georgia without using Saban’s technique which would make him just as dishonest and manipulative? The answer to that is the main difference between CMR and Saban which is Mark Richt makes it all about what is best for the recruit as a student ,football player and fitting in at Georgia meaning the recruit will be happy there. Saban is all about what is best for the school. He doesn’t care a lot about the recruit as a person. If the player can’t help Alabama Saban will get rid of him one way or another. Mark Richt cares so much about each player he gives 5 to 8 walk on scholarship . Saban is a salesman in every way , someone who will say anything to close the deal. Mark Richt is not .

Dean

March 9th, 2012
6:02 am

YOur correct 7576 and these are the reasons why Richt will rise above all this eventually and have a string of his own championships. The disengenious will always fall. It may take time, but it always happens.

Destin Dawg

March 9th, 2012
6:11 am

Richt is 2 for 3 Vs. Saban in the SEC… facts are facts.. and much more ethical… Go Dawgs !!

Beast from the East

March 9th, 2012
6:23 am

Why can’t you people just admit that the man does a great job and kids flock to him because they want to learn from him and his system along with compete for championships? Does it make you feel better to TRY and call his character into question?
Sad.
This Gator respects his accomplishments. He’s worked hard to get where he’s at and he deserves some measure of respect.

A Father

March 9th, 2012
6:59 am

Saban 2 NC in 5 years at Alabama

Mark Richt 0 NC in 11 yeara at Georgia

It is up to the individual to say he was mis treated by Saban and Alabama. Dont understand why whinning GA fans care what happens to a kid that chooses Alabama.

Destin Dawg, your post suggest that you would rather have Mark Richt as head coach than Nick Saban at Georgia. Like wanting a handgun instead of a nuke bomb.

If GA leadership at Butts Mehre can continue keeping GA fans dumbed down they will never worry about their job. Destin Dawg, Brainiac and many others that post here accept poor performances and slack jobs.

MC – how about an article on the financials of the GA football program from the 2009/10/11 season. Where is all the money going? Who is behind and recieving the contracts when this money is spent?

What bank is being used to house all the money GA football takes in?

Time to straighten out the leadership and direction of GA Athletics.

Destin Dawg

March 9th, 2012
7:00 am

yes saban is a great coach, recruiter, and motivator… but he is so driven as to pressure kids like ” commit today ” .. offers alot and does grey shirt more often… AND Richt is 2 for 3 vs. Saban in the SEC… Go Dawgs !!!

Bigdsel

March 9th, 2012
7:04 am

He’s good. But Richt is starting to realize that he has to work harder than his competition. Hopefully it shows in the fall and next year

Dawg Bounty Hunter

March 9th, 2012
7:04 am

we’re going to win the SEC.. This Year!!! Todd Grantham is the difference.. JunkYard Dawg Defense

UGA Athlete Stuffs Hash Browns Down HER Pants

March 9th, 2012
7:11 am

RECENT AJC FRONT-PAGE HEADLINES:

Athens BB Sniper Strikes Again!

UGA Athlete Stuffs Hash Browns Down HER Pants

Mark Richt Recruit Arrested

UGA Football Player Arrested for Violent Act Against Pregnant Girlfriend

Mark Richt Sings “Happy Birthday” to Shirtless Teenage Boy

UGA Reports Another Recruiting Violation

Bulldogs Football Player Arrested on Weapons Charge

UGA Football Recruits Steal Valuables & Cash from Other Players in Locker Rooms

NASCAR Takes Away Race for Lowly Georgia

Atlanta Braves Best (and Only REAL) Sports Organization in Georgia

Herschel Walker Turns 50 Years Old… and Will NEVER Play Football for Georgia Again

Coach Mark Richt Still Winless in BCS Title Games

Kirby Smart Rejects Georgia… Again…. to Stay with Winner in Tuscaloosa

and, of course:

ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE WINS 14TH NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP!!

!

Dawg Bounty Hunter

March 9th, 2012
7:15 am

they don’t have newspapers in ALA.. ????? Grantham MUCH BETTER than Smart !!!

Bandwagon Bammer

March 9th, 2012
7:17 am

Hey MC, does Saban make you say “Thank you sir! May I have another!” when he is spanking you?

Brown Dog

March 9th, 2012
7:23 am

Again (and again and again), no one who posts here, including the author, knows the details of “The Story that Won’t Go Away.” Kiffin gave you the answer. Deal with it. But ask yourselves: Why did it take so long for your highly paid coach to figure out he had to try a little harder?

UGA Athlete Stuffs Hash Browns Down HER Pants

March 9th, 2012
7:25 am

Coach Saban OWNS You, State of Georgia.

UGA Athlete Stuffs Hash Browns Down HER Pants

March 9th, 2012
7:27 am

Coach Saban would let kneel down and wash his feet, Coach Richt and Coach Kiffin, but neither of you ‘wannabe’ champions is worthy.

Roll Tide!

Special K

March 9th, 2012
7:36 am

Keep spreading the venom. I love the exposure AJC gives BAMA and Saban.

1eyedJack

March 9th, 2012
7:46 am

Good morning Dawg fans, and all you knuckle dragging, snot-nosed, mouth breathers.

TIDE = Pinnacle of Success

March 9th, 2012
7:54 am

UGA Athlete Stuffs Hash Browns Down HER Pants

March 9th, 2012
7:56 am

RECENT AJC FRONT-PAGE HEADLINES –

BREAKING NEWS:

Ex-UGA Player Arrested in Athens

UGA Athlete Stuffs Hash Browns Down HER Pants

March 9th, 2012
7:58 am

In Other News:

Water is Wet

UGA Athletes Major Professional CRIME

Coach Mark Richt is STILL Winless in BCS Title Games

&

The University of Alabama is Still YOUR National Champion

JB

March 9th, 2012
7:59 am

I do love my Dawgs. I like Richt. I think in 11 years, he’s had plenty of time to do something special. We’ve had 2-3 really good years with Richt. The powers to be in Athens ( The only ones that really count with the direction of Georgia football) have decided that fielding a competitive team is good enough for them. The rest is lip service.

JB

March 9th, 2012
8:00 am

And speaking of the AJC. The only headline bigger I’ve seen in this paper other than the Orson headline this morning was when Kennedy was shot. Geez.

smells of satan

March 9th, 2012
8:10 am

Come on AJC man. This man crush with Kiffin has got to stop. We don’t need another story about Kiffin or Saban. You are supposed to report recruiting news not become Alabama’s recruiting assistant. Either move to California or Alabama or just report on local news,

DrunkTank

March 9th, 2012
8:13 am

I heard Richt wants a special drunk tank installed in the butts mehre building to hold all the Ga players when they get arrested for dui after partying hard in athens. That way, they can still be around for richt to coach and counsel when he walks out of his office. Sounds like a plan. when will construction begin???

JB

March 9th, 2012
8:18 am

I agree. If I want to support Bama, I’ll sell my house and get me a trailer and move there. Are there no papers over there or internet?

Bammer

March 9th, 2012
8:20 am

JB…still the same old tired crap. Shouldn’t your “Ivy League” education give you better material? Dork.

Bammer

March 9th, 2012
8:20 am

Keep trying Carvell. Nkemdiche is STILL going to Bama.

JB

March 9th, 2012
8:25 am

Bammer……………Kinda how I feel reading about Bama every frigging day in MY GEORGIA paper, just say’n

A Father

March 9th, 2012
8:28 am

Georgia football, nothing worth reporting currently. Georgia basketball – big win and still has chance but very doubtful, will be out of news till next season by saturday night, Fox has 2 to 3 years left to turn around, without a true coliseum to play in that is modern, never will GA get top players.

Next Reports On Georgia Football:

Details of the Orson Charles Arrest:

Court Date for Sanders Commings assaulting a woman, more to this story than reported to date

North Campus Trash

March 9th, 2012
8:30 am

another ‘ Saban is the devil’ piece; the screen play must be in the works.

1eyedJack

March 9th, 2012
8:31 am

Wouldn’t it be great to read one of Carpel’s articles that didn’t mention Saban, Kiffin, Robert Nkemdiche, or Rueben Foster? That would be awesome!

Andy

March 9th, 2012
8:31 am

7576 Dawg you are wrong about what you said about Kirby,saying that about Mark Richt being fired. Saban has a policy, and recruits will all back this up. He or his coaches are not allowed to bring up any other school during the recruiting process. No negative recruiting is allowed. That is one of the reasons his program is so popular with the recruits and parents. He and his coaches only talk about how strong a program Alabama is. I do realize that Alabama has an advantage in they can just talk about the positives of UA, some other schools do not have that luxury.

Attention UGA fans

March 9th, 2012
8:36 am

If you are getting tired of all the bitterness, name-calling, and UGA bashing, there is an alternative- Leather Helmet Blog. You will find excellent recruiting info, and trolls are banned, as well as a level of maturity that rises above what this has become.

Real Problem

March 9th, 2012
8:38 am

Good grief…..Saban asking someone to grayshirt is hardly cutting someone.
Several of Alabama’s best players have been grayshirted.
Better question is….should grayshirting be allowed?

SECIsFootball

March 9th, 2012
8:41 am

7576DAWG….you said….

“When you see all the top recruit’s that end up at Alabama it show their ignorance, lack of state loyalty, and being easily manipulated by a great salesman.”

All I can say to that is WOW! They show their ignorance? They want to play for the best coach in college football at one of the best school in the history of college football and that makes them ignorant?

They lack state loyalty? Guys like Gurley, Marshall, Murray, Charles and Ben Jones, to name a few, told me to tell you hello. I guess these are all ignorant guys who lack state loyalty, huh? I hear this from you guys all the time and the hypocracy on this topic is incredible.

Your view of Nick Saban is nothing more than bitterness and jealousy over what he has accomplished at Alabama and LSU which is what Richt cannot. Same can be said for a lot of UGA fans these days as evidence by this blog. In the end a kid has to look at where he will be best prepared for his life after college and which coach will do a better job of preparing him. They need to look at which school is having more success graduating its players. They need to look at where they have the best chance of competing for and winning titles. If you take a no-biased step back, the answers to those questions are VERY easy! And sorry, it is not Georgia.

SECIsFootball

March 9th, 2012
8:49 am

Andy….you are wasting your time. They won’t believe you.

Whiskey Breath

March 9th, 2012
8:49 am

We do run off players that can’t contribute. And guess what, I would not change a thing. Football is a business nothing more, nothing less. That is why Bama is Bama and Ga is Ga. It has been that way all the way back to Bear Bryant. Let’s face it, you will have kids that are just trouble. If you don’t have any discipline like Ga, each week the players are back in the slammer. When is the last time a Bama player got busted for breaking the law? Saban has discipline and CMR does not. I didn’t realize being a Christian meant you didn’t have any discipline with the players.