Feb. 2 marked another joyous Signing Day in Tuscaloosa, Ala. For the third time in four years, a major recruiting site (Rivals.com) deemed Alabama's class the nation's best. On the heels of that past success at 'Bama and two No. 1 classes at LSU, the 2011 haul further enhanced coach Nick Saban's reputation as the sport's most renowned recruiter.
But this year, Saban's Signing Day press conference wasn't entirely about saluting his staff and heralding incoming blue-chippers like linebacker Brent Calloway and defensive back Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix. There was an -- forgive me for this -- elephant in the room.
Over the past year, Saban became the unwitting face of recruiting's hottest topic: oversigning
. He's far from the only coach in the country who regularly signs more players than there are available spots on his roster, as my colleague Andy Staples recently documented
. But the more national championships a coach wins, the greater the scrutiny, and the likes of The Wall Street Journal
began shedding light on Saban's penchant for expending a number of upperclassmen every year to make room for the new kids.
To his credit, Saban didn't dodge the question when it came up on Wednesday. He actually gave a 431-word diatribe in defense of both oversigning and grayshirting, another contentious practice that Florida president Bernie Machen criticized this week
But Saban didn't exactly offer specifics for how he'll trim his roster, either. (Not that anyone expected him to.) I'm also not sure how much of what Saban said anyone aside from blind 'Bama loyalists will believe. Let's put it out there and see.