A Family Decision

BamaMag.com speaks to new Alabama commitment Keaton Anderson about what went into the decision and much more.

Keaton Anderson committed to Alabama on Thursday night, after meeting with Nick Saban in Tuscaloosa on a planned trip, but he decided to celebrate it with his family at dinner as opposed to speak to the media.

It didn't stop his phone from draining, and quickly.

"I feel excited and extremely humbled, it's a great feeling," he said Friday morning. "My phone was going off, it died. I had 90 percent battery and it took me all the way to zero in an hour, it wiped me out.

"I enjoyed last night, that was pretty cool."

Anderson, along with his parents and older brother, traveled to Tuscaloosa for the planned decision to select ‘Bama over finalists Tennessee, LSU, Miami and Duke.

"In my heart, I actually had my decision made for two and a half weeks, the Monday before Mother's Day was when I was able to sit down with my mom and dad," Anderson said. "We were at dinner and weren't planning on talking about things…

"We all felt that Alabama was the best option. We all agreed on the same school, to have my mom and dad's support was unbelievable. My mom really never gave me a hint, so for her to actually say that she thought Alabama was right for me, gave me closure. That was huge."

The Anderson's actually wanted to set up the Tuscaloosa trip soon after, but the timing never quite worked out with so many of Alabama's coaches on the road recruiting during the evaluation period. This included position coach Kevin Steele and lead recruiter Billy Napier.

Then, Thursday evening became a time that worked out for all involved.

"I was able to talk to Coach [Nick] Saban last night and make things official. He probably had a clue since I was setting up this meeting on a random Thursday night," he said laughing. "We went in his office, he talked for a little bit and I asked to take the floor just for a second. I talked to him about my whole process, from my first offer in 10th grade through the commitment.

"I feel really comfortable at Alabama, with the teammates I'm going to have, where I'm located, so I went over that whole process with Coach Saban, it was probably a solid five minutes. I told him my family was all on the same page and that we wanted to make thins official. I told him I'd like to be a part of the family by committing to the University of Alabama."

Saban and company accepted the pledge from one of the top in-state prospects on the board, and the Florence (Ala.) three-star was pledge No. 17 for the class of 2015.

But not before the champion coach detailed what being a Tide commitment means.

"From there, Coach Saban wanted to let me know that it wasn't just about football, but academically, off the field, character-wise for Alabama," Anderson said. "This commitment is not something to take lightly since I am part of the University of Alabama now.

"We stood up, hugged it out one time and took some pictures."

Breaking his list down from five to one school was tough enough, but getting by Tennessee and LSU was particularly difficult with his family ties to each SEC program.

"It was extremely stressful. Tennessee is where my family and where my brothers played. Coach [John] Chavis at LSU, he's not only been a football figure for me but a father future. He's known me since I was eight, he's watched me play since I was eight, he even saw my highlight tape from back then," he said laughing. "That's what was really hard for me, but at the end of the day I had to look at if Coach Chavis wasn't there, how far LSU is from home…that's a question I was asked and I bought into."

Unlike several prospects in this day and age of recruiting, Anderson plans to truly shut down the process now that his decision has been made.

"I talked to my family and one thing we take very seriously is a commitment," he said. "Once we are committed, it's something we're not backing out of. I'm 100 percent ‘Bama from here on out, I'm not taking visits to any other schools.

"It's here for a reason, I'm not here to play around with it, I'm very legitimate and excited with my decision. I'm a lock, there's no ruling me out, Roll Tide!"

Anderson, listed at 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, is projected as a linebacker by Scout.com, but has the tools to play multiple positions both in high school and potentially at the next level.

It is enabling him to virtually make his pick once he gets to Tuscaloosa, though getting on the field is really the only goal he has when talking where he may line up.

"It's up to me position-wise, people look at me as a hybrid linebacker," he said. "I can play safety, which is what they call a "star" position, I can play weakside linebacker, it's whatever they want me to develop my body. I can stay at 215 (pounds) or 220 and play safety or put on 20 pounds and play Will (linebacker).

"I know I'll work hard with the coaches and get on the field soon enough."

Going forward, with no additional visits to other schools and a renewed focus on the Florence Falcons, Anderson also plans on helping the Crimson Tide maintain the No. 1 class in America.

"I'm about to get my recruiting game on, I'm about to see who I need to get to join the family, so I'm really excited," he said. "I've heard across the grapevine that big (five-star defensive tackle) Daron Payne needs to be hollered at…we'll see."


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