In 2008, Bama had the nation's #1 class with 32 recruits. In 2009, he had 27. In 2010, he added 28 more. That adds up to 87 recruits the last three years, and the NCAA only allows 85 on scholarship at one time. When you consider red shirts, and that APR rules mean you can't just run a bunch off anymore, how does he do it?
This article explains one important tool at his disposal- the medical scholarship. Bama has put 12 kids on medical scholarship the last three years. The rest of the SEC combined has put 12 on medical the last three years. Nick Saban has managed to make Lane Kiffin, Les Miles and Houston Nutt appear principled.
This is significant. Alabama has the most talented team in the country, probably, because they get to sift through more recruits to find players. I know somebody will mention that Royal had more recruits than anybody else, and that's how he built his monster.
That's a myth.
The SWC had scholarship limits that Texas had to adhere to, and a survey of the 1960s Dave Campbell's magazines show that Texas had no more recruits than any of the other public universities in the SWC (the Ags actually consistently had the largest classes).
Anyway, this is a good article. I expect the other SEC schools to respond by using more medical scholarships so they too can have larger classes.