“Personnel evaluation is a very inexact science because of one thing,” Alabama football coach Nick Saban said. “It is very hard to figure out what is in somebody’s head, what kind of passion they have for whatever they do and all that kind of stuff.”

So how does Saban master this difficult task? He talks to the prospect’s high school coaches, people who know the players and the prospects. And these conversations with the player can be very important to whether or not the prospect winds up with a scholarship offer from the coach.

“I had a guy one time that we recruited that everybody was recruiting when I was at Michigan State, and I asked tough questions,” Saban said. “‘What do you think you need to do to become a good player?’ This guy was 40 pounds overweight. The guy sat there and looked at me. He hadn’t figured it out, after we had talked to him all weekend about how he needs to loose forty pounds. So we didn’t recruit the guy. Because if he doesn’t know he doesn’t know, then it is going to be hard for us to convince him he needs to do it.”

When you hear this story, you understand why Saban resented the Saban Rule, which prohibits the head coach from making a visit to schools during the spring evaluation period.

You have something that is an “inexact science” anyway, and the new rule makes it that much harder. But Nick Saban continues to be a relentless recruiter. How does he do it? With a complicated process. What else?

The Recruiting Process
Before a player’s name even reaches Saban’s desk, the player has been vetted by three members of the staff. Each coach on the staff has a two-fold responsibility in recruiting, Saban said. The coach is responsible for recruiting an area or region. This is so the coach can build relationships, which help identify rising football prospects. The second part of the coach’s responsibility is to help evaluate players who could play at the position they coach.

With all these eyes looking at a prospect, you might think this would be the end of evaluation.

Not even close.

“At this point, the prospect gets a grade and he gets categorized,” Saban said. “We put them in tiers.”

How does Saban grade a prospect? Simple. Kind of.

“Their grades consist of size and speed for their position, athletic ability to play their position, character and attitude, and academic criteria,” Saban said.

But wait, there is more to this calculus.

“We have a lettering system to explain if a player has a character issue or academic issue or injuries or size,” Saban said. “Not one of these things can kill you. In other words, you could be a a little short for the criteria we want, but you can overcome it with your ability and your production as a performer and the type of person (you are) and all that type of stuff.”

Need an example about how a prospect can overcome a deficiency?

“We have a scale 1-5 for let’s say linebacker, 6’3″ may be a one, 6’2″ a two, and you go right down the scale, also you have a weight criteria that is on the same scale and then you have a speed criteria that is on the same scale,” Saban said. “So, if we had a 5’11” linebacker for example and the number one scale was 240 and the running speed was 4.6 and he was 5’11”, 240, 4.6, he is a 5-1-1, which is 7 divided by 3. Because he overcomes his size with great speed and has the weight, he ends up being a guy that is a potential prospect, as long as you go to the position criteria and he ranks very highly, because he has to overcome a deficiency.”

Position criteria!?!!?!?!?!

And you thought Saban was done. Not hardly.

To play a specific position, you need specific physical attributes. To explain this, he detailed the things he looks for in defensive back prospects.

For DBs there are three critical factors, according to Saban, you have to be able to tackle, to play the ball in the deep part of the field, and you’ve got to be able to play man-to-man.

But wait, there is more. Saban has a dozen criteria to analyze if someone can do those three things. And these dozen attributes are ranked on that same 1-5 scale.

“And a guy comes out with a player number, then he comes out with a character/attitude number, then you figure out this is the best guy for us to recruit,” Saban said.

But how do you measure the player’s physical attributes? It isn’t like high schools provide accurate information.

NCAA rules restrict much of the evaluation a coaching staff would like to do. But you had to know Saban would have a work-around.

Saban’s attention to detail also helps. He knows how tall each member of the coaching staff is. This allows Saban to make an eyeball evaluation of a player’s size.

And that is just a glimplse at a small portion of Saban’s recruiting process. This how you get a reputation for being one of the best recruiters in football.

38 thoughts on “Why Nick Saban dominates”

  1. Hey Tony,

    If your last name represents the city you currently reside in, you should visit JD’s Bar in downtown Orlando to watch Alabama games. That’s the place all Alabama fans in the area meet up.

    Just thought I’d send you an invite in case you wasn’t aware of it.


  2. I think the Barney from Homewood, AL’s theory on why Nick Saban is so successful is precise…. NOT!!! If an Alabama theory is coming from the yellow toothed mouth of an AU-turd then everyone knows it’s so far fetched it makes Michael Moore’s 9/11 theory seem believable.

  3. Bobby from Homewood has the IQ of a Kevin, which is the same IQ that of a mentally challenged 6 year old.

    His “sources” are also as credible as Kevin’s many preposterous lies.

    I think Bobby and Kevin are two estranged lovers, who share the same single-wide, and I’m quite certain they met and fell in love at an Alabama PolyTECHnic Institute Fraternity rodeo, while attending The Alabama PolyTECHnic Institute. They do think and speak alike!

    I’m also willing to bet they received a free degree in mobile home interior designs, which is the “company” Kevin currently supervises!

  4. hey i’ll be in orlando on my honeymoon for the clemson game.we’d love to watch the game with some bama fans. is jd’s bar hard to find?

  5. Saban dominates….his wife? His kids? The media in this state? Because he sure doesn’t dominate Auburn, whether he’s at LSU or UAT.

    bammerNYC: Your smoke break is over. Time to go back to washing dishes.

  6. Saban doesnt dominate until Auburn Man says he dominates. Anyway, Saban has his way of recruiting and Auburn Men have theirs.
    1st….. go to the prospective recruits high school and talk to his guidance counselor. If the recruit measures up in the “character” department on the field., Pay the Guidance counselor a little “finder’s fee”. For his endorsement.
    2nd….. go to the prospect’s football coach and find out if the prospect has the right tangibles and “character”….. if the coach says so, pay the coach a little “recruitment help bonus” for helping guide the prospect your way.
    3rd…. If the the recruit has made it this far go and speak to the recruit’s parents and then send them some gifts to show that you are their freind.
    4th if by now the recruit still hasnt contacted you, send out a few boosters to offer their ‘support” for the prospect. He might change his mind if he wakes up one morning with a gift wrapped Mercedes in the yard.

    If all else fails and you still dont get the recruit call Fat Phil Fulmer he will know what to do.

    Auburn Man = The caviar of Football fans.

  7. Apparently, Auburn Man = The fish eggs of Football fans. I guess that is good, right?

    Perhaps, this explains my disdain for Auburn; I have never like fish eggs. BTW, thanks for the stereotypical Auburn answer when discussing Alabama and recruiting.

  8. Saban dominates just like the freshmen will dominate this year. Tubs has nothing on Saban. Saban is simply the best coach on the planet period. No one can come close to touching him. He recruits like no other coach in the country and he will have UA rolling again this year. Finebaum is the finest sports reporter in the nation and even he knows the Saban is the man and he dominates everything in his path.

  9. Player evaluation is something Shula, as a coach, never done. No matter who the prospect was, or how bad of an athlete he was, Shula would take what he could get while allowing Tommy T and Bama Tech to embarrass he and the Tide in the head to head battle for certain prospects. Thankfully those days are over and done with!

  10. If you want to know why Nick Saban dominates, just ask some of his lesser opponents. Ask U.A.B. and LAMO. They will be glad to toell you.

  11. It has long been rumored that for every 5 star player Nick Saban signs he loses to a rent-a-win…. thats just what I heard…..

  12. ULM just called and verified that Nick Saban dominates. Then there was a room full of laughter. Not sure why.

  13. “Player evaluation is something Shula, as a coach, never done.”
    “sabin is a DUMBanator aight!”

    I guess this is why the rest of the country laughs @ our state and why our education level is on par w/some 3rd world countries.

    Why do you guys have to make the whole state look like a bunch of DUMBanators?

  14. I’m a Bama Tech fan posing as another fan… I MEAN, I’m a Florida fan living in this state. Everyone hates Alabama! The entire state of Florida hates Alabama more than Bama Tech fans do. I’m serious!

  15. MG,

    How many opponents did Tuberville dominate at Bama Tech in his first season? 10… No. 9… No. 8… No. 7… No. 6… No. 5… No. 4? We have a winner! Can you justify why such a terrible coach was on the verge of being fired one year, then suddenly skyrockets to the peak of the mountain the very next, while his primary competition suffered from penalties that hindered them from giving him a fair fight?

  16. Bush hater you would have been better off asking the age old question how many years it took him to finally dominate the SEC: ten! Saban dominated the SEC twice in five years. The program he left behind still dominates the conference simply because of how he was able to turn that program around with strong recruiting and implementing a winning mentality into the program’s head.

  17. UFfaninAL, Go Gators! I would like to see y’all beat bama again this year but they will not be in Atlanta so I will have to wait. OH…..wait a minute, The Five Million Dollar Man is buying all the bammur players tickets to the SEC Game. Give them a CHOMP when you see them.
    Clemson 44
    scum 6


  19. “UK fan” in AL better known as the on Barnie who uses multiple user-names each 30-60 minutes, how are you benefiting the lowly state of Alabama’s cause by talking about it on a football blog, using improper grammar and half-ass spelling?

    Next time you log in I expect you to sign in under the name “Tom Cruise” (the real one) and teach us the basics of Scientology 101.

  20. I have nothing personal against Saban, other than the fact that he is a bullshit artist, just as Don Shula said. Yes he did land a great class, but just wait, he will stick his size 7 in yalls asses in a year or two…watch.

  21. Barnies will DOMINATE this blog after CLEMSON stomps bama 44-6.

    War Chicken!
    The TIGERS are coming!

  22. Oh yeah, not even 5 Million a year can buy CLASS. sabin only associates with the upper crust of boosters. He could care less about the bunch of bama losers on this blog. Like FineScum said he has maybe three media guys in his pocket and one of them is Rick Karly. I would hate to know that any coach would not look a common alumni or sidewalk alumni eye to eye without thinking he was beeter than you. That’s what you have bama fans. You cannot say he is a winner because 7-6 does not qualify him as a winner at bama. You have to live with all that baggage. Good Luck!


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