December 9, 2007

Billingsley back from T-town

Woodlawn defensive end Undra Billingsley was among the first to commit to the Crimson Tide's 2008 class and since announcing for Alabama in March the 6-foot-4, 260-pound pass rusher has watched Nick Saban build one of the most impressive recruiting classes in the nation. This weekend, Billingsley took his official visit to Tuscaloosa and the trip helped further confirm the three-star prospect's commitment to the Tide.

"My mom and sister went up with me Friday and we went out to eat. Everything was nice and we got introduced to the other recruits and their families. The food was good, in fact all the food the whole weekend was good," Billingsley said. "That night Josh Chapman was my host and we hung out with some of the other guys. Josh and I are friends. I've known him for a while. He's a character and we had a lot of fun. Lorenzo Washington threw a small party so we went over there and some of the recruits showed up too.

"Brandon (Lewis), Star Jackson, Tyler (Love) and Corey Smith were all with me. We've known each other for a while since we were all early commitments. It was really just a bunch of us getting hanging out like old friends."

Billingsley also took the opportunity to get to know two of the Tide's top remaining targets, Foley wide receiver Julio Jones and Gadsden linebacker Jerrell Harris.

"Julio Jones showed up later that night and he's a cool guy. He's great unless you are talking about recruiting. If you aren't, he's just a normal dude. I think he just wants to keep his business private. Today before we left we went fishing together. He had a good time," Billingsley said. "I also hung out with Jerrell (Harris) a lot. He's different than Julio because he's more outgoing and likes to talk about recruiting. I think Alabama is in good shape with him. He told me that Alabama and USC were the ones he was thinking about the most and USC is a long way away. Jerrell is a good dude."

On Saturday, Billingsley and his family got a chance to learn more about the academic side of Alabama and came away very impressed.

"My momma loved the academics. That is what she was there for. We met the engineering dean and he was very passionate about what he does. He told us how important it was for us to get our degree and then go on to bigger and better things after college," Billingsley said. "I love the academics at Alabama and the help they give the athletes. It's more than just a football program. They care about you as more than just a football player. When I think of Alabama I think of family. It's like my home away from home there."

Billingsley said his experience in Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday night was easily the most impressive part of the visit.

"I don't even know how to put in words how excited I was about Saturday night. They took us to the stadium and we put on an Alabama jersey. We all took pictures and got excited and then we went out of the tunnel and that was the amazing part," Billingsley said. "I was so excited by the time I got to the field that I was wishing it was a real game and I could suit up and hit someone. It was great and all the other recruits were just as excited. I think everyone knew how special it was to wear that jersey."

Before leaving, Billingsley got a chance to speak with Nick Saban as well as defensive line coach Bo Davis about his future in the Tide program.

"First I met with Bo Davis. I had been a little concerned about the style they used but he sat down and broke down their schemes for me and it was so much better. I understood it right away and knew I fit in perfectly. I really liked Coach Davis and I'm going to play hard for him," Billingsley said. "Coach Saban told me that in order to be a great football player I have to be a high character guy off the field. He said that is the first step and that was one of the reasons they signed me. He said I was the kind of guy that he was building his program around.

"Coach Saban said it's an honor to play for a University like Alabama and that he never wanted his players to do anything to embarrass themselves or the school."

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