Nick Saban addresses Justin Taylor controversy, Michael Jackson ball marker

Nick Saban

Nick Saban finally spoke about Justin Taylor: "We never get rid of any kids.We made an agreement, and the guy changed his mind." (AJC)

Three months after signing day, Alabama coach Nick Saban finally spoke publicly about his controversial recruitment of Justin Taylor.

Taylor, the running back from North Atlanta High School, had been committed to Alabama for nearly a year but was told a few weeks before signing day that he couldn’t sign with the Crimson Tide. Click here to read more

Saban said it because of Taylor’s knee injury that cut his senior season, asking him to enroll next January in a practice known as “grayshirting.” Speculation became rampant in the college recruiting world that instead it was a reason to oversign at Alabama and then manage the roster to keep as many recruits as possible within the rules. Taylor ended up signing with Kentucky in February over waiting on Alabama.

On Tuesday, Saban was asked to clarify Taylor’s situation:

“I don’t think I should even be commenting on that because these guys … we’re not supposed to comment about these recruits unless they’re coming to our place,” Saban said.

“But you know, we made a rule in the SEC that you can’t oversign. We had an injured player [Taylor] who agreed to start school in January and then changed his mind. And then we were full. What else could we do?

“But it’s good that you all created such a tremendous story about all of this. My honesty and integrity about the kids has always been straight up and up front. We never get rid of any kids. We made an agreement, and the guy [Taylor] changed his mind. He got to do what he wanted to do, and we’re disappointed he’s not coming to our place.”

Saban carries around a "Michael Jackson ball marker" that looks like this, as a

Saban carries around a "Michael Jackson ball marker" that looks like this, as a gag gift (amazon.com)

RELATED: Saban was, by far, the most popular D1 football coach out of 16 participating in Tuesday’s Chik-fil-A Bowl Challenge in Greensboro. He had 23 officials from either ESPN’s production crew or the tournament support staff following him around the golf course.

After the round, Saban patiently took questions from reporters and signed autographs for a dozen fans. He cracked a small grin when he was asked about a ball marker with the picture of the late pop music singer Michael Jackson that he had clipped to the top of his Cabana hat.

“It was a practical joke played on me because when we played LSU the first time, ESPN was in my car and Michael Jackson was playing [on the car stereo],” Saban said. “My buddies that I play golf with got me a Michael Jackson marker.”

WHILE WAITING FOR CINCO DE MAYO …

WHEN DOES FOOTBALL SEASON START?

– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog

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378 comments Add your comment

Indian Dawg

May 1st, 2012
5:20 pm

Lawlz. This isn’t even newsworthy. Everyone outside of Tuscaloosa knows what Bama is infamous for. Deny it or spin it however you wish, Saban. Doesn’t change the facts.

CNS really SAID IT

May 1st, 2012
5:21 pm

QUOTE OF THE CENTURY …

“We never get rid of any kids.”

MaconBulldog

May 1st, 2012
5:30 pm

The devil can make anything sound good can’t he???? Coach Satan……Tuscaloosa is where some people sell their souls.

BiggDawgK

May 1st, 2012
5:34 pm

Typical low life saban comments. He jerks some kid around and then tries to make the kid into the bad guy. With a classless guy like saban as their God is it any surprise that all bama boys are friendless little nothings?

goldwreck

May 1st, 2012
5:34 pm

The 5:20 post and my 5:21 post were deleted.All I said was this column was a “thriller”.

Bamafan

May 1st, 2012
5:38 pm

You people are so jealous! Get a life!

Georgia Tide Fan

May 1st, 2012
5:39 pm

Coach Nick Saban…Bringing the Crystal to the Crimson Nation.
AHHHHH. It’s good to be the King!…Again. Roll Tide Ya’ll.

AnnapolisDawg

May 1st, 2012
5:40 pm

Must be a tough day for real news…

AnnapolisDawg

May 1st, 2012
5:41 pm

The devil is lickin’ his chops waiting for his brother that mispelled their last name…

Flea696

May 1st, 2012
5:43 pm

Cue the “Mark Richt is a good Christian man” comments, despite the fact that those kids are getting arrested and suspended with regularity.

BigDawg

May 1st, 2012
5:43 pm

Saint Nick?! HA!

kingdaddy

May 1st, 2012
5:45 pm

It’s no big deal…

Pawwll

May 1st, 2012
5:46 pm

“Three months after signing day, Alabama coach Nick Saban finally spoke publicly about his controversial recruitment of Justin Taylor.”

That made me spew my water all over my keyboard. The only place this recruitment was controversial was this site, and specifically, this blog. Keep up the good work! Not that Bama needs it in the Peach State, but we’ll take all the obsession, uh hum, I mean exposure, that you provide for the program.

AnnapolisDawg

May 1st, 2012
5:49 pm

Lol @ Flea: Everyone knows how backwards AL is; just for your knowledge, everyone outside the state of Alabama knows that Satan sniffs the garbage before it gets taken out. Athens makes our players own up for their actions, they don’t help our coach sweep it under the rug (he wouldn’t do it any way). BTW, “Richt is a good Christian man” that is going to make a championship sweeter when won with integrity and class.

Wet Willie...keep on smiling

May 1st, 2012
5:51 pm

Nick Saban never sleeps and no sportswriter is going to do anything to hurt the guy with recruiting. Please keep trying though for you embarrass yourself with your envy! Maybe you hire the druck Hines Ward to assist that should help a lot since you recruit a lot of those. 1980…It just seems like a long time but it will be much longer. Roll Tide. It’s lonely at the top but oh so crowded at the bottom.

bucket

May 1st, 2012
5:51 pm

@ Flea696 – I’m not going to comment on this story because it has been hashed and rehashed enough already. However, I am confused about your taking a shot @ CMR’s Christianity because some UGA athletes have gotten themselves into trouble. Can you please explain how the actions of players somehow minimizes or diminishes CMR’s faith? So if a good Christian parent has a child that makes bad decisions, does that mean that parent really isn’t a good Christian? What about Jesus? Was he not a good Christian because he picked a disciple who turned out to be a devil?

tony

May 1st, 2012
5:55 pm

mark richt hahahahahaha

AnnapolisDawg

May 1st, 2012
5:57 pm

tony hahahahahahahahahahahaha

tony

May 1st, 2012
5:59 pm

if youve got class, show your pride. screw the bullpuppies and rollllllllll with the TIDE!!!!!!!!!!!!

AnnapolisDawg

May 1st, 2012
6:00 pm

Later Bamma Tards; you all do keep things fun on a juvenile level. Also, can’t wait to hear you cry when RF signs with the DAWGS next Feb.

tony

May 1st, 2012
6:01 pm

puppies ever winning championship? hahahahaha with the easiest schedule in the country

AnnapolisDawg

May 1st, 2012
6:01 pm

Now that’s football related (unlike this redone article).

Rowdey_Red_Pachyderm

May 1st, 2012
6:06 pm

Wow, you must be on vacation out of state if this is the best you can do? I mean the Phillip Sims saga has even ended for the most part, but is still much fresher fish than this dish of this Justin Taylor non issue.

How bad will the Dawgs scream when Brice Ramsey flips on the mutts, then one of their own Kirby Smart picks him up and brings him on over to meet Robert Nkemdiche, and Ruben Foster ?

Roll that Crimson Caravan!

tony

May 1st, 2012
6:06 pm

are yall ever gonna realize its not the players? yall have had the second best recruiting class for the last 10 years. so glad yall extended his contract.

LakeDawg

May 1st, 2012
6:08 pm

He’s had over three months to come up with a story and this is all he can come up with? I guess you can only polish a (crimson) turd but so much.

Patrick Romano WAR DAMN EAGLE

May 1st, 2012
6:09 pm

Tony, Yes Bama puts the Ass in Class!

@ GA Tide Fan-a Bama recruit’s dad, drops the crystal in T’loosa-Priceless!

WAR DAMN EAGLE!

tony

May 1st, 2012
6:11 pm

bout time yall won one, only took like 100 years. hell puppies have won more than yall have.

LakeDawg

May 1st, 2012
6:11 pm

tony

May 1st, 2012
6:06 pm

are yall ever gonna realize its not the players? yall have had the second best recruiting class for the last 10 years. so glad yall extended his contract.
————————————————————————————————————————————-

I agree, tony. UGA has plenty of talent, but subpar coaching. However, it doesn’t change the fact that Saban is a weasel.

Roll Tide

May 1st, 2012
6:13 pm

Most of you people have no clue about Coach Saban…While Ga’s staff is taking it easy after the season the staff of Alabama is deep in the process of preparing for another great year. Maybe when Ga. plays teams like Bama, Arkansas or LSU in ther regular season they will be considered a SEC power house.

tony

May 1st, 2012
6:14 pm

stomp that ass. ask #1 team in the country that had 92 total yards.

AaronBAMA

May 1st, 2012
6:15 pm

bottom line is whoever at the top is gonna be hated. bottom line is every team strives for titles. bottom line is bama is the team winning the titles. bottom line, nothing else to say. Saban bashers will be saban bashers, but really they’re jealous of the two crystal footballs in three years. bottom line Saban wins, Richt is a scrub that cant win with elite players

BamaGuy

May 1st, 2012
6:15 pm

Hail to the KING

Like I've said before

May 1st, 2012
6:16 pm

You Bamaniacs who like to talk about class are a laughing stock. Or your definition is different from everybody else’s. Updyke the tree killer (who received a hero’s welcome from his fellow fans in NOLA) and Downing the Teabagger (the one who was the hero among his like-minded peers at the New Orleans Krystal) have shown the world what class you have. You people seem to be able to sweep a lot under the rug, but you’re not fooling anybody.

Tampa Gator

May 1st, 2012
6:18 pm

Saban…..

“Frankly My Dear, I don’t give a Damn.”

But I do hope the kid comes down from Kentucky and gains 300 yards on your team one day.
He probaby won’t, but I sure hope he does.

tony

May 1st, 2012
6:18 pm

who is gonna hate richt? he gives away atleast 3 games a year. we love him.

Tampa Gator

May 1st, 2012
6:19 pm

Saban…..

I guess that injury had nothing to do with anything……….yeah boy. Come on…..man!”

BamaGuy

May 1st, 2012
6:21 pm

MaconBulldog
May 1st, 2012
5:30 pm

The devil can make anything sound good can’t he???? Coach Satan……Tuscaloosa is where some people sell their souls

Athens? That is where you go to be part of an average program with over the top pre season hype…same ole dogs. Losing again and hating and whining about those who do it better. You can always hand out those BiG Mark Richt hugs to the players instead of the rings. Yours truly, 1980

AaronBAMA

May 1st, 2012
6:21 pm

@likeivesaidbefore Wow, you’re ignorant. Just because a couple fans act like idiots you bias and judge the whole fanbase. Every team in the SEC has dumb ass rednecks. it’s the south. I can guarantee you though every team in the SEC also has classy nice fans that just enjoy a good football game. I don’t like ppl like harvey and the teabagger, they’re the fans that don’t even have a connection to the university. I’m a current student at UA and I can tell you there are many classy great ppl here, so quit judging thousands of ppl because of the acts of two idiots

Tampa Gator

May 1st, 2012
6:22 pm

Saban’s team will most likely go down in history as the only BCS national champion…..who did not even win its own conference title the same year. National champion of everyting but the SEC.

AaronBAMA

May 1st, 2012
6:23 pm

and too bad it’s the crystal football that counts most

Roll Tide

May 1st, 2012
6:24 pm

to Like I’ve said before…….I don’t know where you got your info about Updyke being a “hero”…By standards of true Bama fans and Alumni he is a true idiot……..

Tampa Gator

May 1st, 2012
6:24 pm

I sure hope, when they go to the four team playoff system…..the four teams that play for the NC are, at least, champions of their own conference……don’t you agree, Mr. Saban?

tony

May 1st, 2012
6:25 pm

i LOVE to be hated. keep it coming. we all know about the black out. hahahahahaha

BamaGuy

May 1st, 2012
6:25 pm

Tampa Gator
May 1st, 2012
6:19 pm

Saban…..

I guess that injury had nothing to do with anything……….yeah boy. Come on…..man!”

Try reading the article first before making a moron of yourself. Saban said when the kid injured himself during his senior season that they ask him to wait and enroll next January. He chose not too. What part of injury didn’t you understand?

tony

May 1st, 2012
6:27 pm

sorry they ran yall off the field. the joke was puppies even being there. if they had to play anybody else in the west, same thing would have happenned during season.

LakeDawg

May 1st, 2012
6:28 pm

LSU is top dog. They split with Bama, beat them at their place, and won the SEC.

BamaGuy

May 1st, 2012
6:28 pm

Tampa Gator
May 1st, 2012
6:24 pm

I sure hope, when they go to the four team playoff system…..the four teams that play for the NC are, at least, champions of their own conference……don’t you agree, Mr. Saban?

Gator fans are now talking trash? This place has sunk to a new low. Get back into the top 20 before trash talking please. Even Georgia beat you?

RGB

May 1st, 2012
6:29 pm

Jealous Gators everywhere. Has been. Who ‘dat?

You confirmed that you do not know how the BCS system works. But since the Hators weren’t in contention for either the conference or the National Championship, why should it matter to you?

Jealousy looks bad at any time, but especially when it’s orange and blue.

Basketball

May 1st, 2012
6:29 pm

Must be a slow news day. lol I doubt if I could think of things to fill this space up myself either this time of year. :-)

Jacket Man

May 1st, 2012
6:30 pm

To be perfectly honest, I can’t believe anyone unless I was in the room at the same time when the thing went down and I heard what happened myself. Everybody seems to remember how things went with their own slant, just as we should all expect, and everyone wants to save face, just as we should all expect. Who knows, maybe there was a misunderstanding between the parties…maybe he wanted to go to Bama as a Gray Shirt at first but changed his mind and Bama didn’t have any scholarships left fot this year’s class and he didn’t want to sit out a year, or perhaps the rug was pulled out from under his feet. Unless the conversations were recorded or the “offer” was put in writing and then formally rescinded in writing, we’ll never know.