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Throughout the course of college football history, we have seen historic recruiting classes. In the Recruiting Rewind series, we will visit some historic recruiting classes since 2010. First up is 2017 Alabama. The Tide took home the top spot in the 2017 recruiting rankings and had many players win multiple awards and championships and become first-round draft picks. Today by ranking, we will look at the top five players in the 2017 Alabama recruiting cycle.


1. Najee Harris

As a recruit, Najee Harris ranked as the 2nd best player in the class. The star RB chose the Tide over Michigan. Najee is regarded as one of the top Alabama RBs of all time, which is impressive considering who the Tide have produced. As a Freshman, Najee saw most of his carries in the national championship against Georgia, where he rushed for 64 yards. Najee continued to improve each year for the Tide, rushing for more yards in his next three seasons and breaking the record for career rushing yards and touchdowns in his senior season, and winning the Doak Walker Award given to the best RB in College Football. After his 2020 season, Harris declared for the draft, where the Pittsburgh Steelers selected him 24th overall. In his first two years in the NFL, he has accumulated over two thousand yards and rushed for one thousand yards each season. So far, Harris has made the Pro Bowl once and was named to the All-Rookie team. 


2. Alex Leatherwood

As a recruit, Alex Leatherwood ranked as the 4th best player in the class. The star Florida tackle made quick work impressing Nick Saban and the Alabama staff as he came in in relief in the biggest game of his career. As a true Freshman, Leatherwood entered the game against Georgia, helping the Tide come back and win the National Championship. Leatherwood became a top college lineman throughout college. During his time at Alabama, he won the Outland trophy for the best lineman. After college, the Raiders selected Alabama tackle 17th overall but released him after struggling his rookie year. Now he plays for the Chicago Bears and is in his second NFL season.


3. Dylan Moses

Third, in the historic 2017 class is Dylan Moses. Moses ranked 13th in the nation and is the biggest what-if in this class. In his first two years in Crimson Red, Moses dominated the competition and grew into one of the top LBs in the nation. Before his junior season, Moses suffered a horrific knee injury, changing his career. After he recovered, he struggled to return to the top and went undrafted in the 2021 Draft. The Jaguars signed him as a UDFA, but he did not make the final 53-man roster. Moses is still working on making it in the NFL, hoping to get his chance one day. 

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4. Jerry Jeudy

Jerry Jeudy is next up. The star receiver ranked 21st in the nation. As a senior, Jeudy won the Fred Biletnikoff Award, which is given to the best WR in college football. Jeudy was a unanimous preseason All-American heading into his junior year and a favorite to repeat as the Biletnikoff Award winner. Numerous publications named him among the best-returning players in the country, and he was listed on several Trophy watchlists. After the 2020 season, Jeudy declared for the draft, which led him to be selected 12th overall by the Denver Broncos. In three years in the NFL, Jeudy has amounted to 2.3 thousand yards and nine touchdowns. 


5. Labryan Ray

Last, in part one, is Labryan Ray. The 5-star DE ranked 28th in the nation and first in Alabama. His best season came in 2018 when he had 39 tackles and 2.5 sacks. Ray struggled during his time at Alabama, mainly due to the depth of the position. After falling undrafted in the 2022 Draft, the Patriots signed him as a UDFA. Ray made the practice squad for New England and has signed a future deal for 2023. Injuries have hurt the talented DE, but Ray is healthier than ever and ready for his shot in the NFL.