January 30, 2011

Junior Day Notebook

Saturday marked the first of two Junior Day events for the Alabama Crimson Tide in an effort to continue what has been a tremendous start to the 2012 recruiting class for Nick Saban. Alabama picked up a commitment from one of the nation's top kickers for 2012 in Calhoun (GA) star Adam Griffith but also made a strong impression on a number of other top junior prospects at the event.

Tide makes strong early impression on Thomasville star

After receiving a scholarship offer from the Tide earlier in the week, Thomasville linebacker Tyler Hayes headed into UA's junior day event with offers from both of the in-state schools.

"I enjoyed it- it was a very nice campus," Hayes said. "They showed us around the facilities, dorm rooms, the cafeteria, and the academic building."

"I talked with Coach (Nick) Saban, Coach (Kirby) Smart, Coach (Burton) Burns, and Coach (Jeremy) Pruitt," said Hayes. "The coaches just reminded me that I have an offer on the table. They're straight up and don't sugarcoat anything. They just tell you how it is."

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound defender who helped lead Thomasville to the 4A state title last season could be the focus of a major in-state recruiting battle between the Tide and Tigers.

"Right now it's pretty even between Alabama and Auburn."

UA leads for Georgia TE

Hogansville (GA) Calloway tight end Ricky Parks was one of several prospects to pick up an offer from the Tide in person at the event, a move that Park said put the Tide out in front as his early favorite.

"Coach Saban was the first coach I spoke with," Parks said. "I went in his office and that's when I got my offer. It felt pretty sweet to get that offer from him personally. I also talked with Coach Kirby (Smart) Coach Williams, Coach (Chris Rumph), Coach (Jeremy) Pruitt. I basically talked with all the coaches. It made a great impression. They made me feel like I was already committed."

"We had a tour guide that showed us around campus," said Parks. "They showed us the athletic facilities, dorms, and other sites. Everything that we toured was real nice."

"Alabama would be my number one school at this point. I also have offers from Clemson, South Carolina, Florida, and Georgia."

Elite Florida OL likes Bama

While Alabama had already extended an offer to Pensacola (FL) Pine Forest star Colby Watson, the massive 6-foot-6, 320-pound offensive guard was anxious to take a visit to Tuscaloosa to see the program for himself and he came away impressed.

"When we first got there, we looked around a little bit and met the new offensive line coach, Jeff Stoutland and talked with Coach (Nick) Saban," said Watson. "They were straight up with me. They told me what it would be like if I came to Alabama and how they would help me make the best of the opportunity."

"We split up into two groups and toured all the facilities," Watson said. "We saw the training room, the locker room, the practice fields, and the weight room. Then we went to the stadium and walked on the field before starting the academic portion of the tour. It was a beautiful campus. I liked everything I saw."

Watson, who has also received early interest from Florida State, said the Crimson Tide currently hold the top spot on his list of favorites.

"Honestly, Alabama would be number one for me right now. I haven't been to any other junior days at other schools, so that could change in the future, but right now Alabama would be on top."

Tide legacy still looking for offer

Fairhope (AL) center Kyron Samuels has long had Alabama at the top of his wish list, as a lifelong Tide fan and nephew of former Tide star and All-American Chris Samuels. While the 6-foot-2, 280-pound lineman has yet to receive an offer, he received some encouraging words from the Tide staff during his Junior Day visit.

"I asked the coaches about what they think about me today and they said they really want to see me play some more snaps at center," Samuels said. "I played only guard and tackle so far in high school. This spring I'm actually starting off at center and trying to earn that spot for the fall so I think I'll have a chance to prove myself to them. Overall, I got a really good vibe from the coaches and I think they are just doing what any good coaches would do which is waiting to see how I perform at the position they want me in."

Samuels also got a chance to speak with new Tide offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland.

"Coach Stoutland was great. He's a guy who knows what he's talking about, knows what he's doing. I watched some film with him and he really taught me a lot in just the few minutes I spent with him. Coach Pendry was one of my main reasons I wanted to go to Alabama. We had a great relationship and it was kind of a shock when I found out he was leaving. But Coach Stoutland is a great guy and I'm really excited about him too."



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