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Part 2. “Freshman Class Reviews” … Coach Ray Perkins 1983-1986 - page 2 / 11

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1983 Freshman Class

INCOMING ANALYSIS AND RATING -- 3.7 * Average

Coach Ray Perkins started his BAMA coaching career in late December 1982. Coach Bryant had just stepped down and was struggling to secure prospects as this major coaching transition evolved. Coach Perkins was able to secure a strong in-state group of signees even though he got a late start. The key accomplishment was securing the two highly rated in-state prospects that had not committed and were being pursued by everyone, especially Auburn who was putting together it’s 3rd consecutive outstanding recruiting class. In the end, these two prize prospects signed with BAMA and went on to produce outstanding careers. LB Cornelius Bennett and DL Curt Jarvis, both of Birmingham, were National recruits and the key signees in this class. But overall, the class fell short on highly rated signees, especially the out of state prospects they pursued.

This class had an incoming rating of 3.7 *(Average). Of the 28 signees, I gave seven a “5” rating. Only 15 of 28 signees (54%) were rated a “4” or above. Far below the 80% I consider to be a good class percentage. Also, the key ingredient in a recruiting class each year is a large number of linemen, most coaches try to sign at least 10 each year. This class had only five linemen to sign. This small number was a significant negative factor with Coach Perkins first recruiting class.

The prize “5” rated signees in the class were LB Cornelius Bennett and DL Curt Jarvis from Birmigham. Jarvis was a Parade All-American and considered one of the top 25 players in the nation by all national publications. Bennett was listed as a highly rated fullback, but everyone knew he was destined for LB at BAMA. Other “5” rated signees from in-state were DB Marvin Humphries from Montgomery, OL Bill Jordan from Geneva, and WR Greg Richardson from Mobile. The only out of state “5” rated signees were from Florida. The prize prospect with the famous name was QB Mike Shula . He was on all the national list, but some questioned his ability and felt his name got the rating. The fact is he was an all-state QB from the highly competitive Miami area and definitely had the football mentality you would expect from the son of Don Shula. Also, “5” rated TE Thorton Chandler was signed after transferring from Florida A & M.

OUTGOING ANALYSIS AND RATING -- 2. 7 *Poor

This class had an outgoing rating of 2.7 * (Poor). Only 12 of 28 signees (43%) contributed “3” plus careers. (60% a good class contribution) On top of that negative, 10 signees were rated a “1” (never arrived, left, quit, etc). As you will see, Perkins first three recruiting classes all had 10 or more “1” rated signees. That basically means, approximately 40% of the total class signed in each of those first three classes never finished their careers. This is the only period of time since 1980 that this type attrition occurred. Looking at the players that were rated “1”, it looks like a case of too many kids being overrated or signing to many “sleepers”. This is really an amazing number. Facts like this, explain why no National Championships were won in the 80’s and no SEC Championship from 1982 thru 1988.

Without a doubt, the premiere member of this class was legendary LB Cornelius Bennett. He was a 3-time All-American and All-SEC selection. He won the 1986 Lombardi Award for the nation’s top lineman. “Biscuit” is definitely one of BAMA’s all-time legends. Two players were 2-time All-SEC selections. DL Curt Jarvis and LB Wayne Davis had outstanding careers. Mike Shula was an All-SEC QB in 1985. A real success story was LB Randy Rockwell from Daphne. He came in as a “2” rated LB, but the hard nosed signee played and worked hard and was selected All-SEC in 1987. Highly rated signee OL Bill Jordan never contributed at BAMA .

This class was never a part of a championship team. They were among the upperclassmen on the 1986 10- 3 team which was helped significantly by the tremendous 1985 and 1986 classes. Several were 5th year seniors on the 1987 7-5 team.

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