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Part 2. “Freshman Class Reviews” … Coach Ray Perkins 1983-1986 - page 9 / 11





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1986 Freshman Class


This class was Coach Perkins 4th and last recruiting class. It is the second consecutive outstanding class for Coach Perkins. Most recruiting experts rated it one of the nation’s finest. The class is full of highly rated signees, but rated in the “good” category in my rating system. A total of ten “3” rated signees in the class kept it out of my “excellent” category. Still, when combined with the 1985 class, these two classes produced a large number of quality impact players at a crucial time at BAMA. It had now been 4 years since BAMA’s last SEC Championship and 6 years since it’s last National Championship. There was an uneasy feeling among BAMA faithful and Coach Perkins may have started to feel a little pressure. These two classes eased some of that uneasiness and this1986 class caused a stir of excitement about the future.

This class had an incoming rating of 4.0 * (Good). 18 of 28 signees (64%) rated a “4” or above. This is below my good percentage of 80% and was caused by ten signees that were rated “3” . But, the number of highly rated “5” signees was excellent. I gave a total of ten signees a “5” rating. This was the highest number of “5” rated signees since I started in 1980 and a number I felt BAMA was capable of securing each year. The highly rated signees included 2 QBS and 5 linemen. For the second consecutive year a primary objective for this class was linemen. A total of 13 linemen were signed in this class.

Heading the class were two highly rated QBS. Billy Ray from GA and Jeff Dunn from NC were ranked among the top ten QBS prospects in America. Ray caused a real stir of excitement as many recruiting services rated him the top player in the South. A third QB was signed who was not highly rated, but highly thought of by the staff, Gary Hollingsworth from Hamilton. The five prize linemen signed were Danny Cash from SC, Glenn Watts from FL, Mike Zuga from GA, Byron Holbrooks from Haleyville, and Willie Wyatt from Birmingham. RB Pierre Goode from Town Creek followed brother Kerry to BAMA as a pipeline was starting to this small talent rich town. LB Robert Stewart from Ashford was a highly rated LB but most expected him to grow into a lineman. The last “5” rated signee was National recruit PK Alan Ward from FL.


At last, a class achieved an “excellent” outgoing rating. This class rated a 3.5 and finally confirmed to me the “excellent” rating in my system could be achieved. 18 of 28 signees (64%) contributed “3” plus careers, making this the first class since I started to have my desired 60% of the class contribute “3” plus careers. After 3 consecutive years of high attrition or “1” rated signees, this class only had seven not complete a full 4-5 year career. Three players were selected All-Americans and those three plus five others gave this class 8 All-SEC selections. That makes the two year combined total of all-star players from the 1985 and 1986 classes pretty significant. Those combined classes produced 7 All-Americans and those seven plus eight more means 15 players were All-SEC selections. These type consecutive classes usually produce success and they did in 1989 with a SEC Championship team.

Many of the prize signees did not produce outstanding careers. QB Billy Ray never produced and left for Duke and Coach Steve Spurrier. QB Jeff Dunn held off Ray for a couple of years, but never reached the success level many expected. As destiny would have it, the QB that succeeded was Gary Hollingsworth. He was an All-SEC selection in 1989 and prosperred from the guidance QB Coach Homer Smith. He still holds many of BAMA”s career passing records. The three All-American selections from this class were DB John Mangum, TE Lamonde Russell, and DL Robert Stewart. All three players were also 2-time All- SEC selections. Other 2-time All-SEC players were OL Terrill Chatman, DL Willie Wyatt, and C Roger Shultz. DB Lee Ozmint also was selected All-SEC in 1988. Another player who contributed a very solid career was LB Spencer Hammond. Highly rated DL Glenn Watts from FL never contributed at BAMA.

This class went through a dramatic coaching change as Coach Perkins left after their first year and was replaced by Coach Bill Curry in 1987. Some 5th year players played for 3 different coaches as they finished with Coach Gene Stallings in 1990. This team had significant contributors on the 10-2 1989 SEC Championship team.

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