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Alabama Football: Karma And The Price Of Omelettes

Justin Taylor and Darius Philon.  Both were commits to Alabama.  Taylor had been committed to the Tide for year.  Philon had stopped taking visits after making his pledge to Bama.

And both were told in the final days leading up to signing day that Nick Saban would only take them on if they waited a full year to enroll at Alabama in 2013.

Now you can say the Crimson Tide lived up to the letter of the SEC’s new soft 25-man signing cap law.  It did.  But that won’t mask the stink of these two players’ situations.

Taylor signed with Kentucky and admitted that he felt he’d been wronged.  His high school coach — former NFL running back Stanley Pritchett who’s seen recruiting from every angle — wasn’t happy with Alabama’s actions.

Philon — after a painful to watch signing day press conference — inked with Arkansas.  He’s never even been on Arkansas’ campus.

Is Alabama alone in this kind of activity?  No.  It’s recruiting.  It’s a dirty business known for broken promises.  Commitments from players and schools are steel strong… right up until a better player or a better school comes along.

But Saban and Alabama certainly get more ink than most when it comes to their methods of roster management.  Talk of a signing cap was tied to UA.  Chatter about unwarranted medical hardships once swirled around Bama.  And now the buzz is focused on Saban for backpedaling from committed prospects like an All-America corner in an SEC title game.

Is it enough to create some bad vibes for the Alabama program?  Jeff Sentell of The Birmingham News suggests as much:


“If there’s such a thing as football karma, maybe Taylor uses this diss to spark Kentucky to an Alabama upset?  Maybe Philon does the same for Arkansas?  What if those losses kept Alabama from both the SEC and BCS title games?  That’s one way that troubled look on Philon’s face on signing day could come back to haunt Alabama’s bottom line.”

That’s not likely to happen.  Instead, Saban’s juggernaut Tide will continue to roll right along.  And top recruits will continue to commit to Alabama believing that what happened to Taylor and Philon could never happen to their superstar selves.

But Tide fans are going to have to learn to live with all this negative talk until Bama changes its ways.  That’s got to be maddeningly tiresome.  Whether UA fans will admit it or not.

The old saying goes: To make an omelette you have to break a few eggs.  Well, there’s a price to pay for the eggs.  There’s a cost.

And the cost is headshakes and tsk-tsks from the rest of the sporting world everytime another teenager says he was left at the altar or kicked to the curb by Saban.  Nothing’s free.  Not even well-made omelettes.

(Story corrected… Justin Taylor — who we’ve referenced several times here — is the Alabama commit who wound up signing with Kentucky.  Jason Taylor was a future Hall of Fame defensive end for the Miami Dolphins.  And I am the guy who has to have extra proof-reading time for my morning posts.)

 


8 comments
Cruitin Guru
Cruitin Guru

Will Kentucky play Alabama before this kid finishes his time there?

"Being Wronged"... Bama seems to greyshirt players every year, and it usually works for them, John Parker Wilson had a pretty successful career there as did Drew Davis. Asking kids to postpone their need for Instance Gratification and start their college career in Jan instead of June... wow, that is an insult, its not like they had knee injuries and could use some extra rehab time, oh wait both of these kids did have injuries. All this "Negative" talk is just sour grapes from all of those who would give anything to have the success Bama has experienced and will try anything to derail the train. Haters gonna Hate... so, hate on haters, hate on.

farmerl21
farmerl21

The truth is all college football programs offer more scholarships than they have available. I mean the top 100 high athletes could choose just about any program they wanted and there would be a scholarship available. If more than 25 players wanted to come to Alabama. What is wrong with informing a player before he signs his LOI that yes there is a scholarship available but the soft cap is going to require us to grey shirt you. I mean as if a grey shirt is a negative thing. How many hundreds of other high schoolers would knock down the door for such an oppurtunity. It worked out that these two signed on with other SEC teams; in the end no one is hurt. We need to scratch all this talk about a high schooler putting his life on hold. What about Jay Rome with Georigia was his career put on hold because he had to red shirt? Are we going to read an article about how redshirting is a bad policy? This is just another negatively spun column coming from a Tennessee guy trying to level the playing field with scare tactics, what's new? Note Saban kept his word a sholarship was going to be available to the player after he grey shirted.

DaveinExile
DaveinExile

When Duke was winning big near the end of Dean Smith's era, much was made by Carolina fans about K "recruiting over" players, which simply meant he would bring in a PG in every class until he had one he liked. The others sat or transferred. Dean played a kid 4 years, no matter what, so he was "better."

It's that way for every extremely successful team, whether the Patriots, Duke, Carolina, Lakers, Alabama.... People can't make the wins go away, so they latch onto anything and everything to explain their jealousy. Michael Jordan, of course, couldn't play basketball those last 3 championship years - it was all an NBA conspiracy, including the refs.

Purdue walked away from a kid last year (a WR in Tampa) under the exact same circumstances last year. No press.

VaTech dismissed an All-ACC linebacker last off-season who was injured during the bowl game, because he wasn't rehabbing the way the coaches wanted. No medical redshirt - just a "see you later." No press.

Alabama fans understand the real context of these stories: Alabama gets page views, and Purdue and VaTech don't. It's the flip side of fame and fortune. One side of the press builds you up, the other tries to tear your down. It's the nature of the beast, not a conspiracy.

James Gang
James Gang

As a Mizzou fan, I can say that the coverage of this issue seems to be rooted in a dislike of Alabama, Nick Saban, or both. I have been following this site since the chatter about Mizzou to the SEC first began last fall. On balance, it seems like all of the SEC teams get even coverage. In this case though, there seems to be a desire to publicly drag UA through the mud.

NatanElias
NatanElias

So far I haven't heard of one reporter who actually knew what was said between Saban and these recruits. Neither recruit has stated that a promise was broken. Maybe he said "IF we have room you can come in 2012; but the best I can guarantee (assuming you otherwise qualify) is Jan 2013. What's your beef with that?

If you want to judge and convict without knowing the facts, you will. And have.

JBJ
JBJ

Why is this still a story? Something that this writer does not say is that both players probably would have been redshirted at Alabama and most likely will have the same situation at Kentucky and Arkansas. So in real time, they could have seen playing time just as quickly if they had waited until January 2013 to sign. The scholarships were not taken away as this writer and other writers seem to want to keep saying. The offers were delayed. Why are we not still seeing the story of the Miller kid who was already in Baton Rouge ready to start school when his offer was pulled and he enrolled at Auburn? Seems like this is more egregious than what happened in Tuscaloosa.I know that the site writers will have the last say and point out that only Alabama fans are making these rationalizations. They are probably right about that but those other fans would also like to have 2 National Championships in the last 3 years too.

LucienAdams613
LucienAdams613

@alabamanation who wrote this? The person can't even get one of the recruits' names right. It's Justin Taylor... Not Jason

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