Avalos commits to the Tide

As predicted, the Tide coaches preferred to wait until after their summer football camps before making any firm scholarship offers to quarterbacks, wanting to make certain of the athletic ability of any prospective signee. But after an impressive performance throwing the long ball by Tuscaloosa's Brandon Avalos, the Bama coaches had seen enough. A formal offer soon followed, and Avalos made it official today. "I just realized Alabama was where I belonged."

"When I went to camp is basically when I made up my mind," Avalos continued. "I'm very excited about it. It's been something I've been looking forward to for some time."

Besides Alabama, Avalos has been seriously recruited by the likes of Nebraska, Clemson, Notre Dame and Washington, with Virginia Tech, Purdue and Southern Miss having made firm scholarship offers. But unlike many prep athletes, the pride of Hillcrest High School won't be dragging out the process just for entertainment. "I'm very satisfied with my decision," Avalos said firmly. "I'm not going to have second thoughts. There is nothing I regret at all. It was fun while it lasted. But the teams that I was interested in were basically interested in me. It's not like I would be waiting for a couple of more teams. I'm satisfied with the teams that were interested."

Despite being born in Texas and having only lived in Alabama for a few years, during recruiting Avalos made no secret of the fact that the Tide was at the top of his list.

The Bama coaches had courted Avalos for several months. But intent on making the right decision, Dennis Franchione and Tide Quarterbacks Coach Les Koenning took their time in offering. "I was just not sure about what they were doing," Avalos explained. "I didn't know if they waiting just because I'm here in town or what. I was a little nervous and asking myself questions. I wasn't really sure what they were going to do.

But an afternoon's worth of passing---Avalos delivered multiple accurate throws to receiver after receiver on streak patterns during Friday's senior football camp---provided all the evidence Koenning needed. "He told me that he was very impressed with what he saw," Avalos related. "And that I was their top quarterback prospect for this year. He wanted to offer me a scholarship.

"That was unbelievable. I didn't really know I was that high on their list."

Following Friday's session, it was time for some one-on-one time with Bama's coaches. "After camp they invited me up to the coaches' offices," Avalos explained. "There were a few other prospects there that they were looking at. Coach Koenning called me in his office and said he was very interested. He didn't want me to go to Virginia Tech's camp and commit. He said he wanted me, but he just had to talk to Coach Franchione about it. Then I came back the next day, and that's when they gave me the official offer."

Noted for his speed and excellent feet, there remained some doubters regarding the power of his arm. But for Bama's coaches, seeing was believing. "They were probably surprised about my arm strength," Avalos acknowledged. "I've heard questions about that. I couldn't really say anything about that until I had a chance to actually prove it. I wasn't trying to throw bullets or 75-yarders out there, but so long as you can make the throws that need to be completed. You don't have to be able to throw 75 yards in a game."

Avalos had previously met and gotten to know Benjamin Obomanu, probably the top-rated receiving prospect in the state. And Friday he also got a chance to work with Grant Brigham, another highly touted high-school wideout. "I got to know several of the guys, and I definitely felt like I belonged," Avalos said. "I felt pretty good with the way I performed there. Coach (Koenning) paired me and Ben Obomanu up several times. He asked me to throw a streak to him, and we connected."

As proficient running as he is passing, Avalos is more in the mold of the modern quarterback, capable of beating you with either his arm or his feet.

Observers on-hand to watch the display report that besides good arm strength, Avalos dropped pass after pass perfectly in stride to his receivers. "Accuracy is something I've worked on a lot," he said. "That's definitely a pretty important part of the passing game."

Having previously offered a scholarship to play baseball, it might follow that Tide Head Baseball Coach Jim Wells would be disappointed by Avalos' announcement. But he needn't worry. "I'm going to play baseball," Avalos said firmly. "I definitely want to do that. I'm going to follow the same rules as Spencer Pennington. During spring practice I'm a football player, and that's just the way it's going to have to be.

"I haven't talked to Coach Wells since I decided, but we've talked about playing both football and baseball. So the coaches know about it."

"Now," Avalos concluded. "It's just time to concentrate on being a high school senior."

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