Sunseri Has Hard Choice To Make

I like most Alabama football players I have dealt with over the years. I particularly like Crimson Tide football players who are successful, before and after their playing days. In the main, those who succeed are the ones who make good decisions.

Ifn these days of rumors, we are hearing that Vinnie Sunseri wants to leave Alabama. He may want to go to Florida State, where his father, Sal Sunseri, is an assistant coach and his former Bama position coach, Jeremy Pruitt, is defensive coordinator. FSU is no doubt feeling its oats with its recent national championship.

Or he may want to enter the NFL draft. Players have until Wednesday to declare for the draft.

Vinnie Sunseri is a fine football player. He was Alabama's starter at strong safety and provided one of the great highlights of the Crimson Tide's 2013 season, his interception and 73-yard return for a touchdown against Texas A&M.

He also provided a heart-breaking moment when he injured his knee and his season ended in Bama's seventh game of the season, against Arkansas.

Vinnie did not grow up an Alabama fan. His father moved to Tuscaloosa to coach at Alabama and Vinnie signed with the Crimson Tide after finishing high school at Northridge.

He has earned his degree from The University, so he can transfer without having to sit out a year.

There are great positives to completing his career at Alabama. For one thing, he would go down in history as an all-time Alabama football favorite. It is likely he would be a captain, joining an extraordinary group of men who have earned that honor. He would continue with his teammates and Coach Nick Saban, men who have been with him the past three years, two of them national championship seasons.

It is also understandable that he would be inclined to transfer to Florida State, because if we have learned nothing else we have learned that the Sunseris are a very, very close family. Vinnie, though, and his brother Tino before him, who was quarterback at Pittsburgh while Sal was coaching at Alabama and Tennessee, have been able to remain part of a close family even when not living together.

Emotion no doubt is playing a role in the decision Vinnie has to make.

The worst thing Vinnie could do is declare for the NFL draft. He has been a solid player, but he is coming off a knee injury. Reports are that he has rehabilitated well (thanks to Alabama's excellent medical care for athletes), but he would still be looked upon as damaged goods by the emotionless NFL.

Sometimes when an athlete has a difficult decision to make, he takes a third alternative, worse than either of the two that conflicted him. This is usually in the recruiting process, a player torn between two schools, then signing with a different college so he doesn't have to choose between his two favorites. For Vinnie, the NFL would be that worst choice.

This is a difficult time for the Sunseris. I'm sure his parents see the value of having him in Tallahassee for one year. Hopefully, they'll see the value for Vinnie in completing his career at Alabama.

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