Rico McGraw has been to himself of late, as his focus on the football field has been clear. Not only is the Alabama commitment looking to wrap up his senior season with yet another state championship at Nashville (Tenn.) Ensworth High, but he’s doing so at a new position.
Playing solely safety on defense, it could be a preview of things to come at the college level.
“It’s kind of new, teams are throwing different stuff at us,” he said of the transition. “It’s good right now, before I get to the next level. With my size and instincts, I’m capable of getting stuff pretty well.
“With me playing corner, I have to tackle in space. That’s a point of emphasis I’ve had (since the switch). Also, keeping my eyes out of the backfield. I get away with it more than I should.”
McGraw, the four-star defensive back, learned more of where he could project at the next level while visiting Tuscaloosa over the weekend. Despite it being his first trip as a Crimson Tide pledge, the feeling wasn’t much different than previous trips to campus.
“It’s not really a difference, they always treat me as if I was committed,” he said. “I feel comfortable there and they feel the same way. So my first visit as a commitment wasn’t much different, they told me how happy they were to see me.
“I spoke with Coach [Kirby] Smart, Coach [Kevin] Steele and Coach Saban. Me and Coach Smart have developed a really good relationship since I committed, he was real excited to find out that I committed. They don’t recruit me, really, I think they’re pretty convinced that’s where I’m going to be for the next four years of my life. We’re at the point that we’re talking about schemes and how I’m going to be used down there.”
Perhaps fitting, the projected cornerback by Scout.com is hearing about playing in between that position and the one he’s been working at as a high school senior.
“Mainly, they want me at the STAR position; they’re playing with five DBs right now,” McGraw said. “I have the physical attributes to play there, but when I go down I’m going to start out at corner and see what Coach Saban likes. Ultimately, it will be the STAR position. I really don’t have a preference, they know way more than I do.
“It’s wherever will get me on the field quick. I’m going in with my mouth closed and my eyes open.”
While plans of the having Scout’s No. 124 overall prospect in Tuscaloosa for the next four years seem concrete, it hasn’t slowed Georgia or former Saban assistant Jeremy Pruitt in the meantime. The Volunteer State standout was on the Bulldogs’ commitment list from January to July.
“Me and Coach Pruitt are really close, we don’t even talk about football much,” he said. “Tennessee hasn’t really talked to me as much, but me and Coach Pruitt talk almost every week.”
Ironic or not, McGraw spent considerable time with a trio of Georgia commitments while visiting Alabama on Saturday, including a pair of five-stars in Terry Godwin and Trenton Thompson in addition to the five-star Crimson Tide pledge, Blake Barnett, he also found time with.
“We really don’t talk about football much,” he said of Godwin, who committed to UGA the day after McGraw did. “I told him Georgia is a great place to be, I was committed there at one point. If he chooses to come to Alabama, I’d be happier for him. Both of them are good places, you can’t go wrong with either one.”
McGraw says that he doesn’t plan on taking any official visits and doesn’t have any visits elsewhere planned at the moment.
“I’m at the point that I’m going to focus on Alabama, I’m not into getting anywhere else,” he said.