HOOVER — If anyone knows the recipe for success, it’s Nick Saban.

During his tenure at LSU, Saban turned the Tigers into one of the most dominant football programs in the Southeastern Conference — winning the BCS national title in 2003.

Saban built a reputation as a great recruiter while at LSU. In fact, several of the players that helped the Tigers win their second BCS championship last season were recruited by him.

Now that Saban is the head coach at Alabama, his blueprints for rebuilding the Crimson Tide football program are similar to what he used while at LSU — recruiting nothing but quality football players.

Most experts tabbed Saban’s first recruiting class at Alabama as the nation’s best. And those same experts believe the Crimson Tide’s success will depend heavily on those young players this season.

Saban agreed.

“How these guys develop this year will have something to say about the kind of success we have this year,” he said. “Our improvement is going to depend on how our young players progress because we lack depth at several positions.”

There may be high expectations swirling around Alabama’s highly-touted recruiting class, but Saban doesn’t want to place any added pressure on players he has yet to work with in practice.

When asked which incoming freshmen could possibly play key roles this season, Saban held his cards close to the vest — refusing to single any player out or give a timeline on when to expect significant contributions from the new freshmen.

“All of these guys will develop at a different pace,” Saban said. “But we’re going to play the best players, and if the freshmen can go out there and do their job better than someone else, we have no issue with those guys being the performers that will give us the best opportunity to be successful.”

Saban may not have singled anyone out, but Alabama senior offensive linemen Antoine Caldwell did.

When asked how this year’s incoming freshmen had preformed in offseason workouts, Caldwell called the group “some of the best players he has ever seen.”

“I thought my group was impressive, but these guys are unreal,” Caldwell said. “They’re fast, strong and have a lot of promise. I definitely could see some of these guys helping this year.”

According to Caldwell, some of the incoming freshmen that have stood out this summer are Julio Jones, Star Jackson, B.J. Scott and Jerrel Harris.

“Julio Jones is everything I thought he would be,” Caldwell said. “He has the potential to be a great player. B.J. Scott and Jerrrel Harris are also exceptional players.

“As an offensive lineman, I don’t get to take part in 7-on-7 drills. But I like to watch. And one guy that’s been fun to watch in 7-on-7 is Star Jackson.”

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