New Market (Ala.) Buchhorn's Zach Branner is all of 6-foot-5, 328 pounds, but he's still looking for options at the next level as an interior offensive line prospect. As eager as any to prove himself against the South's best, he held his own against the likes of Daron Payne, Fletcher Adams and others at the Birmingham NFTC last month.
"When I got there, I walked in and looked at the facilities; they're just number one already," he said. "As I'm walking through the hallway, I run into Coach [Mario] Cristobal, he saw me and said hello and told me it was going to be a great day.
"Then I continued up the hall and saw Coach [Nick] Saban, he said I looked good and he wanted me to enjoy myself today."
After checking out the offensive linemen during the spring game itself, Branner and the rest of the recruits continued with the day's festivities – where he was able to speak to another assistant eager to be in touch with him.
"We went back to the picnic, and I talked to Coach [Kevin] Steele for a while," he said. "He said I looked great on film and he likes what I've got as a player and said I could possibly play for ‘Bama. He invited me back this summer for O-line/D-line camp and that's where I can maybe get that offer from them.
"It would be amazing; it would be a dream come true for me and my family. I'm a ‘Bama fan, the tradition, the championships, the team, the players, the atmosphere. It's just the fact that they play four quarters, they expect the best players to come out there and compete. And if you don't compete, you won't play."
A pair of potential line-mates were also in town for the game, each already pledged to Alabama in the class of 2015, and took time to speak with the fellow junior.
"I was speaking with Lester (Cotton) and Dallas (Warmack) all day, the two O-line commits," he said. "They basically were treating me like I was already there, I could see myself with that group. "
Though other offers may come in before the summer, Branner couldn't be more excited to have the chance to compete for a potential spot on a future Crimson Tide roster.
"They told me I moved pretty well and can't wait to see me in person," he said. "Coach Steele is going to try and come down to watch me come practice, and Coach Cristobal said he'd try and get there, too."
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