Last week, Alabama got a huge commitment from one of the best high school wide receivers in the nation, Christian Leary from Florida.
The diminutive Leary is reminiscent of a current elusive and speedy Tide pass catcher Jaylen Waddle.
Leary was supposed to commit June 6, which is his mother’s birthday, but delayed the decision seemingly after a strong push from Auburn. Then as luck would have it, the morning after Leary’s somewhat surprise pledge to ’Bama the recruiting team at 247Sports.com put out its updated recruiting rankings. Less surprisingly, Leary moved up a few spots.
This type of ascension in rankings for Alabama commitments is known in recruiting circles as “The ’Bama Bump.”
See, the ’Bama Bump is a very, very real thing. It is also quite the irritant of other teams’ fans. These fans see that upgrade in a player ranking as a true indication Alabama (and a few other select schools that are perceived to receive such bumps like Ohio State, Georgia, Oklahoma and Clemson) are favored in the recruiting industry. And, frankly, they are correct.
There is no doubt if a lesser-known re recruiting commodity commits to Alabama, he will have a better opportunity to climb the rankings ladder.
It’s not because those analysts love ’Bama though; it’s more because if Alabama (or Ohio State or Georgia or Oklahoma or Clemson) covets a player who wasn’t necessarily that highly regarded, it inspires experts to give his film a second look. After all, those programs are pretty good at picking out who the best players in the country are, right?
Just about anyone worth his message board administrator status can pick out a five-star recruit. You don’t have to study film and measurables all year to know Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Fields or Trevor Lawrence will be stars. The tough part is looking for those kids who are barely four- or three-stars who are most certainly worth a valuable roster spot. That’s where the likes of Nick Saban and Dabo Swinney really shine.
Much like it is smart to invest in stocks Warren Buffet prefers, it is also smart to consider giving a rankings increase to a kid those aforementioned coaches are recruiting.
Josh Jacobs is a prime example.
The former ’Bama running back was virtually unknown until late in the signing year of his class when Alabama got wind of his talents. Before you knew it, he went from someone none of the big schools knew about to a guy all of them wanted. A lot of the buzz around Jacobs centered around the fact Saban wanted him on his team.
Of course, no recruiting ranking process — with or without bumps — is flawless. Five-stars flake out occasionally and walk-ons can sometimes make history. However, the rankings science seems to get better every year as recruitniks have more and more access to true measurements, highlight film and knowledge of players’ personalities through more interviews and their social media.
The point is the next time you hear a kid got the ’Bama (or Ohio State or Georgia or Clemson) Bump, you should probably understand that player is probably better than people thought to begin with.