White House a recruiting tool for Tide

April, 14, 2013
4/14/13
12:38
PM ET
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- President Barack Obama is the most powerful man in the free world. His office is famously known across the country, but does he have a button on his desk that automatically closes the door to the room where he works?

Nick Saban does.

Alabama’s head coach can close the door to his office from the confines of his chair whenever he chooses. The device has proven to be both impressive and intimidating to potential recruits who have walked in.

“I was actually kind of nervous coming into his office,” Alabama signee Maurice Smith said. “When I had walked into his office, he was the only coach who ever had a button -- he pushes the button and the door closes. That was pretty scary.”

ESPN Watch List linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams met with Saban in his office during the Crimson Tide’s first junior day this year. He left with a scholarship offer, but when he first walked in, he was a little unsure.

“It’s very intimidating,” he said. “You come into his office, he presses the button and the door closes behind you, and then it’s right to business, what you want to talk about.”

The infamous automatic door didn’t bother 2014 running back Leonard Fournette. He was more impressed with the next part of Saban’s routine -- showing off his four national championship rings to the recruits.

“I was pretty impressed,” Fournette said. “He asked what was going on with me, personal stuff, how school was going and stuff like that.”

There’s a reason Saban is considered the best recruiter in college football right now, but is he the most powerful man in the sport?

It’s hard to argue for anybody else. The UA head coach has compiled a record of 68-13 during his six seasons with the Tide. He has won three national championships in the past four years. He’s also earned a top-three recruiting class in each of the last six years.

“Three rings in the past four years,” Allen-Williams said. “Who else is doing that? Four rings as a head coach. Who else is doing that? To me, he’s the most powerful man in college football right now.”

As Saban aims for yet another title next season, he’ll take a break on Monday to visit the White House with his team. The most powerful man in college football will meet the most powerful man in the free world.

Greg Ostendorf | email

Auburn/SEC reporter

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