Will Gragg is as familiar with Alabama as any out-of-state class of 2015 recruit can be. He's been to campus four times, has held an offer for nearly a calendar year and has been attending SEC games for seemingly a decade with a pair of older brothers playing at Arkansas.
But the four-star tight end out of Pine Bluff (Ark.) still dealt with some new recruiting angles from Nick Saban's program during his weekend visit for A-Day.
"I had a great time as I always do," he said. "It's always great catching up with the coaches and being engaged with the players."
A pair of offensive assistants took the brunt of their time with Gragg on Saturday.
"It's between Coach [Billy] Napier and Coach [Bobby] Williams that talked to me the most," he said. "Coach Napier recruits the state of Arkansas, so we kicked it off with him, and then I got a chance to talk with Coach Williams, the tight ends coach. He was just showing me some things, how they used the tight ends and how he plans to use both me and O.J. (Howard)."
Howard, who burst onto the scene as a dynamic freshman tight end in 2013, is trying to convince the Scout 300 prospect to be his running mate at the position.
"It's good because they use a lot of two tight end sets, that means I'd get an earlier chance to get on the field and make plays, so that's always good. I got the chance to speak with O.J. himself, and he was telling me we could be the dynamic duo of the SEC," Gragg said, laughing.
Howard is a matchup nightmare.
Despite the coaches and players each taking time to spend with one of the nation's top talents, it was the interaction with the Alabama fans before and after the game itself that took the cake for the top moment of his latest trip to Tuscaloosa.
"We got really engaged with the fans, we were taking pictures and signing autographs and things like that," he said. "It was crazy, the internet is crazy, I signed a couple of pictures that had me in an Alabama uniform. It was cool to be engaged with the fans – adults as well as the kids. Any time you put a smile on a kid's face, it's good.
"It's not every day that you get to do it at the school that has 15 national championships."
Crimson Tide coaches are able to check in with Gragg multiple times per week,but UA is not alone in the pursuit of Scout.com's No. 5 tight end prospect. The 6-foot-4, 247-pounder says many in the SEC and beyond are making it a priority to keep him in their class of 2015 plans.
"My phone is blowing up 24-7, I have to set it off from seven to nine (p.m.) to do my homework," he said. "And then I cut it back on again. LSU, Florida State, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Texas, Auburn..pretty much all schools in the South are checking in with me."
Gragg has verbal scholarship offers from each school mentioned above, including one from in-state Arkansas, the school he is of course most familiar with. However, the junior isn't revealing any schools that will make his next cut, set to take place in the next few months.
"I want to cut it down to six or seven schools by the end of the summer," he said. "It's going to come down to the schools you feel most comfortable at and the ones you can be most successful at, not just athletically but academically.
"I've got a couple on my mind."
Gragg, who ranks as the No. 144 overall prospect on Scout for 2015, is looking to take several unofficial visits before the cut-down. He'll then take all five official visits before making his commitment on November 18. In addition to comfort and potential success on and off the field, he cited playing time as another major priority in his selection process.
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