In the winter of 2008, Marcell Dareus bought into Nick Saban's vision, as did 31 other signees. While Saban's first class, compiled on the fly during the winter of 2007, was ranked as the 10th-best in the Football Bowl Subdivision by the recruiting site Rivals.com, Alabama's recruiting took off with the class of 2008, a group that Rivals ranked No. 1 – and now stands as one of the most star-studded in the game's history.
"Probably the best recruiting class I've ever been associated with or been a part of assembling," Saban said of the 2008 group. "I think the evaluation was good and I think the development of the players was really good. Lot of good people in that class. Honestly, the amount of success that they've had certainly indicates the competitive nature that they have and the kind of people they are, as well as their ability."