The nation’s top uncommitted offensive player decided to join the nation’s strongest recruiting class, as IMG (Fla.) Academy running back Trey Sanders announced his commitment to Alabama live on ESPN on Wednesday. Sanders chose the Crimson Tide over a long list of potential Southern suitors, including Florida, Georgia, Texas, Florida State, Auburn and more.
The 6’0”, 214-pound running back has been 247Sports composite’s top-ranked running back in his class for virtually his entire high school career. Sanders becomes the highest ranked player (No. 5 recruit overall) in this class to sign with Alabama, and he’s the third five-star commit (along with Daxton Hill and Antonio Alfano) to give Nick Saban his pledge. Sanders’s commitment all but assures that the Crimson Tide will have the nation’s top class for the eighth time in nine years, a period of staggering recruiting dominance.
Sanders is a bigger, bruising back with a college-ready body, a player Saban will likely expect to contribute from day one. Alabama’s leading rusher this year, Damien Harris, will graduate in this spring—thus, Sanders figures to have a role next year alongside Najee Harris, a current sophomore who was a top-five recruit in the class of 2017, and Josh Jacobs, who led the team with 11 rushing touchdowns this year. The Tide also return Heisman runner-up Tua Tagovailoa and the team’s top three receivers; the skill-positition pieces are in place to replicate the success of this year’s offense, which finished second in the country at 47.9 points per game.
Sanders’ high school, the IMG Academy, is a boarding school that attracts some of the best athletes in the country. IMG finished the season as a consensus top-10 team in the country, with its only loss coming to Mater Dei (Calif.).