Alabama Crimson Tide: game-changing recruits

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- It was the shot across the bow. Nick Saban and the Alabama coaching staff made a statement with the class of 2008.

[+] EnlargeMark Ingram
Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesMark Ingram won the Heisman Trophy and a national title in 2009, his sophomore season.
It was Saban's first full year recruiting as the head coach of the Crimson Tide, and what a stunning first impression it was. Not only did he haul in the No. 3 signing class in the country, but he went nationwide to do it, pulling a 2,000-yard running back from all the way up in Flint, Mich., by the name of Mark Ingram.

Saban drew on familiar ties to nab the 12th-ranked running back in the country, according to ESPN, swiping Ingram out from under the nose of Michigan State, where the now 61-year-old Saban held the second head coaching job of his career.

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