By Andrew Brandt | ESPN staff writerAlabama football has one of the best recruiting classes in the nation, but that class has been beset by injuries, and the latest sign of an uneven recruiting landscape in the state could be a setback for coach Nick Saban.
The Crimson Tide opened with a victory over Clemson on Saturday in the Bahamas, and that set up the first of a series of three home games against teams in the ACC.
However, that win could be short-lived given the injury concerns surrounding freshman quarterback Deondre Francois.
According to the Alabama Athletic Department, Francois has suffered a season-ending injury in practice, and he’s expected to miss two weeks.
The team has yet to confirm whether the injury was serious or not, but it’s certainly a concern.
If that’s the case, it will be difficult for Saban to get the best players he can in the recruiting class.
Alabama’s top-ranked recruiting class of 2019, according to 247Sports Composite, is loaded with players who are expected to be top-25 prospects in 2019.
The class includes six five-star prospects (Jalen Hurts, Jalen Ramsey, Tyler Jones, Sammie Coates, Tyus Bowser, and Marcus Smith), and a handful of four-star players (Malik Adebayo, Michael Jackson, D’haquille Williams, and D.J. Jones).
Saban has one top-10 recruiting class in history, but he has to contend with the loss of two of his top three targets in quarterback Deontay Burnett and wide receiver Derrick Henry.
Burnett and Henry were ranked as high as No. 2 and No. 3 in the 247Sports composite rankings, respectively, last year, but both players are likely to return to the program this fall.
Saban said he’d like to add three to four more players this season to help him compete for a championship.
In addition to Burnett, he also has to deal with the return of two players he recruited to Alabama as a top-five recruit in the class of 2018 (Quincy Pumphrey and Michael Robinson).
He also has the option of bringing in a fourth player to the class.
Alabama is hoping to add at least four more top-30 players this fall, which would put it on track for a record-breaking recruiting class for the second time in three years.
The Crimson Tide’s 2019 class was ranked No. 4 in the country, but the Crimson Tide also lost two of its top three prospects in defensive tackle Jordan Poyer and offensive lineman Johnathan Hankins, both of whom are out of eligibility.
The team also has one-and-done commitment from defensive tackle T.
Williams, a five-foot-11, 275-pound defensive end, has already committed to Alabama.
He’s a high-profile signing for the Crimson Sun program.
Alabama’s first-round recruiting class (which will take in three 2018 players and two 2019 prospects) is ranked No 1 by 247Sports, No. 5 by Rivals, No 3 by ESPN and No 2 by Scout.
The 2019 class is ranked 11th, according.