"You can't get any better."

D.J. Pettway, from Pensacola Catholic High School in Fla., is one of the most underrated players in his class. The Tide was looking for a pass rusher and found one from the Sunshine State prospect. "They play as a family." Alabama signee is featured.


D.J. Pettway
Scout.com Rating: Three-star Scout.com Rank: No. 23 Defensive Tackle
Size: 6-foot-2.5, 260-pounds
Hometown: Catholic High School Pensacola, Fla.
Projected Position: Defensive End

Stats: Pettway had 80 tackles and eight sacks during the 2010 season. He registered 85 tackles and 12.5 sacks as a junior.

Commit Date: 4/19/2010
Recruiting Competition: Florida, Florida State, LSU, Miami, USC

Why Alabama: "It's a home-town feeling up there. They have a very good coaching staff up there. They play as a family. It's a brotherhood. They won a national championship as one. It's nice up there. It's not too far away. My mom and dad can come see every game. They can be close if anything happens. The facilities are great. You can't get any better.

"They recruited me as a defensive end. They said they wanted someone who could move. They have struggled with big defensive ends coming off the edge. They wanted someone who could bring a pass rushing presence. I am 6-foot-3, 250-pounds."

Strengths/Improvements: "I spent time working with a trainer. I learned the dip move. I read plays better, and I understand what the offensive linemen are trying to do when they are coming at me. I am real quick off the ball. I feel like I have good knowledge of the game."

Coach Quotes (Pensacola Catholic Head Coach Greg Seibert): "D.J. came in as a skill player. On the JV squad he played quarterback and was in-line to play the position when he got to varsity.

"When we looked at his body type and footwork, we thought moving him to defensive end would make the most sense in the long run. He started eight-nine games for us his freshman year and hasn't missed a start since.

"I think we made a good decision to move him. Other teams make their game plans to avoid him as much as possible. He plays the run well and is difficult to hold off in pass rush. I look for D.J. to lead the defensive unit and be its focal point.

"His knowledge of the game is going to serve him best at the next level. D.J. sees what an offense is trying to accomplish prior to the play and positions himself accordingly. Good feet, plays well at pad level, excellent first step, and good hand placement are all fine attributes to his game. I think he'll do really well with Coach (Sal) Sunseri.

"His ability to put the team first and not make it about himself, but something bigger is rare in a lot of today's athletes. D.J. does that. He accepts coaching and will make the adjustments necessary to help his team be successful.

"He's a character, sort of a jokester who's a lot of fun to be around. I think the other players are drawn to his personality."

Richard Stover contributed to this report.

Andrew Bone says: Pettway is an elite pass rusher who brings speed and toughness to the defensive line for the Crimson Tide. He is very athletic and does a great job with his hands. He is explosive off the football and has one of the quickest first steps of any defensive player in the country. He was recruited to play defensive end.


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