Jimbo Fisher goes scorched earth after Nick Saban claims Texas A&M bought 2022 recruiting class
Speaking at an event with local business leaders Wednesday night in Birmingham, Alabama, Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban had some strong remarks on what prompted Texas A&M’s recent recruiting success.
“I mean, we were second in recruiting last year,” Saban told the audience. “A&M was first. A&M bought every player on their team—made a deal for name, image, likeness. We didn’t buy one player, all right? But I don’t know if we’re gonna be able to sustain that in the future because more and more people are doing it. It’s tough.”
Saban said Alabama players made $3 million from NIL opportunities last season “doing it the right way” last year and that only 25 players made money.
Thursday morning, A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher called a press conference to specifically address Saban’s comments, taking a blow torch to the Alabama head coach.
Texas A&M HC Jimbo Fisher just fired back at Nick Saban for saying they "bought" recruits.
Fisher calls Saban a "narcissist" and says he won't take his call.
"We built him up to be this czar of football. Go dig into his past." pic.twitter.com/iG4UQ4BH3I
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) May 19, 2022
“First of all, it’s a shame that we have to do this. It’s really despicable,” Fisher said. “It’s despicable that somebody can something about an organization and more importantly 17-year-old kids. You’re taking shots at 17-year-old kids and their families. That they broke state laws. That they’re all (about) money. That we bought everybody in this group. We never bought anybody. No rules were broken, nothing was done wrong.
”It’s despicable that a reputable head coach could come out and say this when he doesn’t get his way or things don’t go his way. The narcissist in him doesn’t allow those things to happen and it’s ridiculous when he’s not on top. The parity in college football he’s been talking about? Go talk to coaches who coached for him, you’ll find out all the parity. Go dig into where ever he’s been. You can find out anything.”
This past recruiting cycle, A&M brought in the nation’s No. 1-ranked recruiting class, per 247 Composite.
Fisher coached on Saban’s staff at LSU in the early 2000s and later turned down an offer to join Saban’s Alabama staff in favor of joining Florida State as its offensive coordinator. The two have spoken highly of each other in the past, but the gloves appear to be off now.
“Some people think they’re God,” Fisher continued. “Go dig into how God did his deal, you may find out about a lot of things you don’t want to know. We build (Saban) up to be this czar of football, go dig into his past, or anybody who’s ever coached with him. You can find out anything you want to find out about what he does and how he does it, and it’s despicable. It really is. And it’s a shame we have to sit up here and have this conversation.”
Fisher went on to say that Saban attempted to reach out to him but he didn’t take the call. “Not going to,” he responded. “We’re done.” He emphatically denied that A&M engaged in any rule-breaking during the last recruiting cycle.
“You coach with Bobby Bowden and you learn how to do things,” Fisher said. “You coach with other people and you learn how not to do things.”
Saban isn’t the first coach to accuse Texas A&M of leveraging NIL opportunities to build its class. In February, Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin joked “Texas A&M was going to incur a luxury tax in how much they paid for their signing class.”
But Saban didn’t stop at College Station Wednesday night, he also went in on Miami and accused Jackson State of buying Travis Hunter, the No. 1 prospect in the 2022 class who flipped from his Florida State commitment to play for Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders.
“Hell, read about it in the paper,” Saban said. “I mean, Jackson State paid a guy $1 million last year that was a really good Division I player to come to the school. It was in the paper, and they bragged about it. Nobody did anything about it. I mean, these guys at Miami that are going to play basketball there for $400,000, it’s in the newspaper. The guy tells you how he’s doing it.”
That comment also prompted a stern response from Sanders, who tweeted Wednesday night that “We as a PEOPLE don’t have to pay our PEOPLE to play with our PEOPLE.”
Kiffin, reached by The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman, was speechless “for the first time in my life” at the whole blow-up.
SEC Media Days will certainly be a bit more lively this year.