Top in-state juniors talks 'Bama - LSU

Alabama hosted some of the top juniors in the country, and several from the state of Alabama, including the top six in the state. Get inside for their thoughts of Tuscaloosa with LSU in town.

Alabama's thumping of LSU not only happened in front of a national audience Saturday, but more than 100 of the top recruits in the country were on hand to see it go down in person.

As one would expect, some of the best in the state of Alabama were also on hand, specifically in the state's junior class.

The lone five-star in the group is Daron Payne, who admits that Alabama maintained its lead for his commitment and signature.

"It was a great time," he said. "The best part was how loud the crowd was when the players came out."

The Irondale (Ala.) Shades Valley standout defensive tackle isn't being rushed by the coaches despite the Crimson Tide's position on his list.

"They just said to keep working hard and they like the success my team has been having," he said.

Payne and the Mounties play the Hoover (Ala.) Bucs on Friday night.

Another playoff contender took time out of his schedule to make it down to Tuscaloosa.

"Shook hands with Coach [Nick] Saban and he smiled soooo I will now retire from football because of that moment," Kerryon Johnson said on Twitter.


Kerryon Johnson can play offense or defense at the next level.

The state's No. 2 junior and four-star Madison Academy two-way star said the champion coach hadn't previously done that.

"It's the first time he did it in front of me," he said laughing. "He was just glad I got to come and was wondering if I was playing this week."

Johnson has battled an ankle injury, but will suit up this weekend in Round 2 action from the Class 3A playoffs. But on Saturday, it was all about the atmosphere at Bryant-Denney Stadium.

"It was a fun night," he said. "The game was great and of course the crowd was extremely loud.

"The atmosphere tonight was similar to the Miami - Florida State game."

The Seminoles and Auburn Tigers round out his top group, with Alabama, and he said the decision doesn't get any easier.

"Everything makes it harder," Johnson said. "I have he same top three right now."

The state's top junior lineman on either side of the ball is working with four schools -- Alabama, Auburn, Georgia and Vanderbilt -- but Tyler Carr has become a regular in Tuscaloosa. Saturday was his third unofficial visit to campus this fall.

"It was great, it was a bigger game, so the crowd was electric and obviously more intense," he said. "There was like 130 recruits there, too, and both Saban and [Mario] Cristobal talked with me for a little, so it was good!"

The Crimson Tide offensive line coach won the quote of the day award in speaking to the four-star prospect.

"Coach Cristobal was just saying he would wrestle any other coaches trying to recruit me," Carr said laughing. "It was pretty funny."

The 6-foot-5, 295-pounder admits that each of the schools on his list has something to offer him, as he continues to play things close to the vest.

"I have told my parents this, I wish I could take Vandy's education and Alabama's record, Auburn's home feeling and Georgia's strength and conditioning and put them together," he said. "It would make the perfect school for me!"

Three-star cornerback Maurice Smitherman, from Adamsville (Ala.) Minor High, also was in town.

"The fumble on the goal line was the best part," he said. "The coaches told me they like my film, I know they're going to offer soon."

The fastest junior in the state is itching to add the No. 1 team in America to his offer list.

"I just got a feeling about it," Smitherman said. "It makes my decision harder because good teams are offering me and they ('Bama) have a great defensive backs coach and they produce players to the NFL."

BamaMag.com will have much more from the big weekend.


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