McLeod takes in title

Most of Alabama's commits and targets watched the SEC Championship Game on television, but 2013 quarterback commit Parker McLeod was in the Georgia Dome for it all. Find out how his experience differed from that of most during Saturday's classic game.

"My dad got two tickets and he had a friend give us two others," said Parker McLeod. "So my sisters and my dad went."

Of course, what the McLeod's saw was Alabama pulling out a heart-pounding win over Georgia to claim the SEC crown and advance to the National Championship on January 7 against Notre Dame.

"It was awesome, just a crazy atmosphere," the three-star quarterback commit recalled. "Georgia had the home-field advantage; there were a lot of fans. I was sitting in the Georgia section, so I was the lone Alabama guy over there.

"But it was fun."

A few plays stood out in the game to the future Crimson Tide signal-caller, and it mirrored the situations that most will remember from the epic game. The first was Amari Cooper's go-ahead touchdown reception from A.J. McCarron late in the fourth quarter.

"Alabama was just killing it in the run game, and I just knew if they kept running – it would really set up with play-action," said McLeod. "As soon as I saw that fake, I saw Cooper was open and A.J. just hit him. It was an awesome play by both guys and an awesome call by coach [Doug] Nussmeier."

Admittedly the only one in his section cheering at the time, the Marietta (Ga.) Walton senior had a different tone as Aaron Murray was driving the Bulldogs to a potential win at the buzzer. But poor clock management and an inopportune reception led to UGA coming up short.

"That last play was just crazy, too," he said. "Georgia caught a tough break. Communication was off – spiking the ball or going for it – and then the guy that caught it probably should've caught it. It was just a thought break.

"It was awesome; everyone was silent except for me. Most people left from the call that was an interception (by Dee Milliner), but I stayed. It was cool to be the only ‘Bama fan around there."

Watching the Tide edge out another good SEC team, given what was at stake, only furthered McLeod's anticipation of getting to Tuscaloosa himself.

"I'm so excited to get there, to get to work," he said. "It's just a great honor, too, to be recognized by the No. 1 team in the country that is in the national championship last year and maybe this year. And hopefully be a part of another one once I get there."

McLeod will graduate from Walton this month, before enrolling at UA in January. The early-enrolling process is one he hopes will springboard him to fall camp, when most of his other classmates will arrive.

"I just think it's a huge advantage, getting there six months early," he added. "Getting adjusted to college and obviously a head start on the playbook, and being able to go through spring ball and all that. It's just a huge advantage, especially for a quarterback. It's just a huge transition, and with more time it's easier to get through the transition."

Another part of the 6-foot-3, 190-pounder getting through the holidays and taking the next step is his ankle health. He missed multiple games in 2012 because of problems with each joint.

"They're feeling good," he said. "They're not 100 percent, but the rest – I'm not doing too much right now – is good to get them healthy again. Let them rest, so I'm hoping by the time I get to Alabama I'm ready to go."

McLeod will be on campus once more this weekend, taking in his official visit to check in on the coaching staff and likely watch the Tide prepare for the Fighting Irish.

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