Alabama Crimson Tide: Billy Napier

The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's latest feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: Billy Napier has a great reputation as a recruiter and is proving it this season for the Crimson Tide; despite a season-ending injury, running back Shai McKenzie received good news from schools recruiting him; Auburn could be the team to watch in the SEC if the Tigers continue to win ball games.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Gas up the car, fuel up the jet and be sure to load up on plenty of snacks. A-Day is officially in the rearview mirror. It's time to take the show on the road.

Alabama coaches will hit the recruiting trail hard over the coming weeks as the focus shifts from spring practice to the spring evaluation period. After months of laying the groundwork, it's time for the staff to make hay with some of the country's top prospects.


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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- When the University of Alabama and Nick Saban come calling, all issues with timing are thrown out the window. Less than two months after accepting the job of tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator at Florida State, Billy Napier has agreed to become the new wide receivers coach for the Crimson Tide.

The move comes on the heels of Alabama hiring Mario Cristobal as its new offensive line coach less than five weeks after he accepted a position with the University of Miami.

Saban said in a news release that Napier was his first choice to fill the shoes of former UA wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Mike Groh, who opted to leave for a job with the Chicago Bears.

"We are glad to have Billy back on our staff,” Saban said in a statement. "He did an outstanding job when he was with us in 2011 and he was the first call we made when this position opened. He is a sharp young coach and he’ll be a great addition working with the wide receivers. We also feel that he will be a tremendous asset to our staff in the recruiting process."

Napier has a familiarity with Saban's system having served as an offensive quality control coach under former UA offensive coordinator Jim McElwain. Napier followed McElwain to Colorado State in 2012 and spent the year with the Rams before accepting the position at Florida State.

"I have a great appreciation for the University of Alabama and the program Coach Saban runs, especially after spending the 2011 season in Tuscaloosa," Napier said in a statement. "From a professional development standpoint, it was the best year in my coaching career.

"When you’ve been here and seen it first-hand, you know that you want to try and get back to Alabama if that opportunity ever presents itself. I am excited to be back and appreciate Coach Saban offering me the position."

Before his first stop at Alabama, Napier spent five seasons with the Clemson Tigers, becoming the youngest ever coordinator in the program's history in 2009. The 32-year-old Georgia native also served as recruiting coordinator in Death Valley, helping the Tigers to the No. 2 class in the country in 2008, a haul that included DaQuan Bowers and Andre Ellington.

"He will be a very nice addition to the staff and is a grinder when it comes to recruiting," ESPN senior national recruiting analyst Tom Luginbill said.

Alabama lost a strong recruiter in Groh, who was named the country's top recruiter by Rivals.com and 247Sports. The 41-year-old was instrumental in the Crimson Tide's No. 1-ranked recruiting class in 2012 and 2013. He came to Alabama in 2011 after one season at Louisville coaching quarterbacks. Before that, he spent eight years at Virginia under his father, Al Groh.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The coaching carousel at the University of Alabama kept on spinning Thursday afternoon when it became clear that wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Mike Groh would be leaving to join the Chicago Bears, according to multiple reports. Former Florida State tight ends coach Billy Napier will be hired as Groh's replacement.

[+] EnlargeMike Groh
Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY SportsAlabama moved quickly to replace wide receivers coach Mike Groh on Thursday.
Napier, who was hired by FSU in January after spending a year at Colorado State, was formerly an offensive quality control assistant at Alabama under former offensive coordinator Jim McElwain. The 32-year-old Georgia native became Clemson's youngest coordinator ever in 2009, serving as the Tigers offensive coordinator.

Alabama loses a strong recruiter in Groh, who was named the country's top recruiter by Rivals.com and 247Sports. The 41-year-old was instrumental in the Crimson Tide's No. 1-ranked recruiting class in 2012 and 2013. He came to Alabama in 2011 after one season at Louisville coaching quarterbacks. Before that, he spent eight years at Virginia under his father, Al Groh.

The news of Groh's departure comes on the heels of Alabama hiring new offensive line coach Mario Cristobal. Earlier in the week, coach Nick Saban welcomed in former defensive coordinator Kevin Steele as the new director of player personnel, and former Vigor High (Ala.) coach Kerry Stevenson as director of player development.

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