Alabama's 2021 recruiting class surpasses its star-studded 2017 class as the highest-rated in history

Nick Bromberg
·3 min read

Alabama has surpassed itself.

The reigning national champions’ 2021 recruiting class is the best class in the history of Rivals’ recruiting rankings. Alabama’s 26-person class includes five five-star recruits and a whopping 18 four-star recruits. And with the Wednesday afternoon commitment of defensive back Terrion Arnold, 17 of Alabama’s 2021 signees are ranked in the top 100 of Rivals’ player rankings.

Yes, Alabama is signing 17 of the country’s top 100 players. Absurd.

The class of 2021’s average rating surpasses the Crimson Tide’s class of 2017 for the best in Rivals history (dating back to 2002). And guess what? A bunch of the members of that 2017 class were key parts of the Alabama team that went 13-0 across the 2020 season and beat Ohio State for the national title in January.

2017 class produced DeVonta Smith, Mac Jones, Dylan Moses

Alabama’s 2021 class has a combined point total of 3,478 in Rivals’ recruiting rankings. That’s a point higher than the 2017 class that included 29 total members and seven five-star recruits.

Those seven five-stars included star RB Najee Harris, All-American offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood and do-everything middle linebacker Dylan Moses. Denver Broncos WR Jerry Jeudy and Cleveland Browns OT Jedrick Wills — both first-round picks in the 2020 NFL draft — were also five-star recruits.

The group of four-star recruits included a bunch of stars too. Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa — the No. 5 pick in the 2020 draft — was a four-star recruit. So was his successor Mac Jones. Heisman-winning wide receiver DeVonta Smith was a four-star recruit along with Las Vegas Raiders WR (and first-round pick) Henry Ruggs.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban and offensive lineman Alex Leatherwood hold the trophy after their win against Ohio State in an NCAA College Football Playoff national championship game, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla. Alabama won 52-24. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Alex Leatherwood (L) is one of the five-star recruits Nick Saban brought in ahead of the 2017 season. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

2021 class reloads at key positions

We all know by now that Nick Saban is the best recruiter in college football in addition to being arguably the best coach in college football history. And that recruiting prowess is clear with the players included in the 2021 class.

With Smith, Moses, Leatherwood and Harris off to the NFL, there’s a five-star recruit coming in at all of their positions. Alabama’s class includes five-star offensive linemen JC Latham and Tommy Brockermeyer, while five-star defensive back Ga’Quincy McKinstry comes into a secondary that is losing star DB Patrick Surtain.

Five-star RB Camar Wheaton was the top-ranked running back in the class of 2021 and five-star LB Dallas Turner will likely be the net in a long line of highly-touted Alabama linebackers who have made an immediate impact.

With Jones off to the NFL as well, there’s a QB in the class too. Four-star QB Jalen Milroe is Alabama’s only QB in the class of 2021. He joins a QB room that includes former five-star recruit Bryce Young after Young was Jones’ backup in 2020.

More from Yahoo Sports: