It’s no secret that as things stand, the Alabama Crimson Tide are the top program in college football right now.
And if Nick Saban has his way, that should extend well into the 2020 season.
Why 2020 in specific?
Well, that’s because according to ESPN.com and a number of other outlets, Alabama went ahead and offered a scholarship to a young man named Dylan Moses yesterday, a player widely considered to be the top player in the Class of 2017.
Yes, you read that correctly: The class of 2017.
As in, Dylan Moses is an eighth grader.
Of course if Dylan Moses was just any old eighth-grader (or in this case, young) he wouldn’t hold an offer from Alabama. But as you’ve probably figured out by now, there’s nothing normal about Dylan Moses. He measured out at 6’1, 215 lbs. during his visit to Alabama, and already holds a scholarship offer from the hometown LSU Tigers (Moses is from Baton Rouge). Most consider him to be the top eighth grader in the entire country. You know, for people who measure such things.
Regardless, here is what Moses’ father Edward Moses Jr. had to say about the experience, with his quotes coming via the reporting of ESPN.com’s Greg Ostendorf:
"For Dylan, excitement spilled over," Moses Jr. said. "When he heard those words from Coach [Nick] Saban, 'We're offering you,' you could see him light up. It was shocking because we were going in thinking we were just going to get a tour of what Alabama has to offer.
"To hear, 'You're impressive, keep your grades up, we want you to come here, and we're offering you a scholarship now,' I can't even put that into words."
Now, as weird as this story may seem in the micro, in the macro it isn’t totally off the wall. Much like college basketball recruiting, in college football, the best players are being offered scholarships younger and younger.
A few years ago Lane Kiffin made headlines when he offered a 13-year-old named David Sills, who at the time was considered to be the top quarterback prospect in the Class of 2015. To Kiffin’s credit, Sills still holds that distinction two years into his high school career (Of course with two years of high school ball left, the question becomes whether Kiffin will even be at USC by the time Sills gets there). Also as Ostendorf mentioned, Alabama had previously offered a pair of high school freshmen, in 2013 signee Tim Williams and top 2014 prospect Leonard Fournette as well.
So really, it’s hard to blame Saban for taking the unusual step of offering a kid so young, especially when recruiting has become so competitive. Again, with an offer already in hand from LSU, this is simply about keeping up with the top competition on the top players.
Speaking of which, let’s remember this: The kid is in fact a top player. Nick Saban doesn’t go giving out scholarships offers like they’re free samples at the mall, meaning that if Moses has one, he must be pretty darn good. Beyond his height and weight, you’ve got to assume he’s got the requisite athletic ability and overall talent as well.
And besides, since when has Nick Saban ever been wrong in his talent evaluation?
Not often is the point.
That also means that if Alabama does end up winning that 2020 National Championship (under whatever format it might be), we can all point back to a day in 2013 and say “that’s when it all started.”
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