Alabama turned to its past to build for its future Wednesday afternoon, picking up a commitment from five-star cornerback Marlon Humphrey.
The 6-foot, 175-pounder from the Birmingham suburb of Hoover is rated by Rivals.com as the nation's No. 2 cornerback and the No. 9 overall prospect, and he is rated by 247Sports.com as the No. 3 cornerback and the No. 12 prospect. He is the son of former Alabama tailback Bobby Humphrey, who had 1,000-yard seasons for the Crimson Tide in 1986 and '87.
"I sort of expected them to get Humphrey the entire time," 247Sports.com national recruiting director J.C. Shurburtt said, "even when [Georgia defensive coordinator] Jeremy Pruitt was at Florida State doing a good job of recruiting him. I just couldn't imagine Bobby Humphrey's son and a Hoover High School cornerback not going to play for Nick Saban."
Humphrey is Alabama's 25th commitment and announced his nonbinding pledge via Twitter.
"Thanks for everyone that has supported me this far," Humphrey wrote. "I'm happy to say I am committed to the University of Alabama."
His commitment adds to a class that is arguably the best since the recruiting services began providing rankings in 2002. Shurburtt, who was a guest of Chattanooga's "Press Row" show on ESPN 105.1 FM, said the Crimson Tide have amassed 314.8 points in the 247Sports.com ranking system.
The record total of 321.8 was compiled by Florida's 2010 class, which had defensive linemen Dominique Easley, Sharrif Floyd and Ronald Powell, as well as defensive backs Matt Elam and Jaylen Watkins.
"It could be the greatest class numerically of the modern era, but that being said, I don't know if I wouldn't rather take Texas A&M's class over Alabama's right now because Texas A&M has more players ranked No. 1 at their position," Shurburtt said. "When you've got the top quarterback, the top receiver and the top defensive end, that's pretty good, and I don't know if there is a class in the country that will have a bigger impact on a program just because of the sheer numbers and the upgrade at different positions than Tennessee.
"Alabama's class may be the best in history numerically, but for my taste and preference, I may lean to Texas A&M's class or even Tennessee's class because I think there are more impact guys in those classes and special-type players who can make some things happen for those programs."
The Crimson Tide are battling Kentucky for another Matt Elam, this one a defensive tackle from the Bluegrass State, who has scheduled an announcement today.
Contact David Paschall at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6524.