Julio Jones: The One Who Started it All
The Alabama Crimson Tide is used to getting top rated recruiting classes filled with five-star recruits and parlaying them into exorbitant success on the football. The Crimson Tide has been doing it for over a decade now, some may forget that there was a time when the Tide was not automatically considered by all the top recruits in high school.
In 2008, Nick Saban hauled in his first recruiting class in his Alabama tenure. The class was ranked No. 3 overall by 247Sports, the first top five class for the Tide since the inception of the popular recruiting website. The class was led by five-star prospect, No. 1 recruit in the state in Alabama, No. 1 wide receiver and No. 3 ranked recruit in the nation, Julio Jones.
Jones became the first major recruit in the Saban era and his commitment made Alabama cool again on the national scene.
Promised nothing but an opportunity, Jones would take Tuscaloosa by storm. He earned SEC Freshman of the Year in 2008, he led the Crimson Tide in receiving in all three seasons he was at Alabama and was a part of the first national championship team at Alabama in Nick Saban's tenure. Jones was selected to the All-SEC First Team in 2010 and declared for the NFL Draft after his junior season.
Jones hauled in 179 receptions for 2,653 yards and 15 touchdowns during his time at The Capstone, all top-10 marks all time in Alabama history.
He has gone on to a stellar NFL career with the Atlanta Falcons after being drafted No. 6 overall in the 2011 NFL Draft. He's been to seven Pro Bowls, he's been named All-Pro five times, two First-Teams and three Second-Teams. He has led the NFL two times in receiving yards and was named to the NFL 2010s All-Decade Team.
Jones is the model of Saban's process for his players, come to Alabama, compete hard, win championships, get drafted and capitalize on the value you've created for yourself.
With eight days left until the Tide kicks off against Missouri, all Alabama fans honor the one who helped kick start the dynasty to its current form.