Among them was four-star Wildwood (Mo.) Lafayette High School athlete Brendan Scales and his family. The tight end projection has been committed to Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide since April 17. Despite the time in between decision day and opening night, the group is still trying to realize all he’s accomplished.
“I really have’t wrapped my head around it yet,” he said. “My dream was always to play college football, I didn’t know it would be at this level. As of this year, this being my second year playing tight end, I didn’t think I’d be jumping into a big program with the opportunity I have.
“It’s real nice for my family, they believe in me, but it’s really hard to fathom anyone from where I’m from going to Alabama. No one can really wrap their head around that.”
During the game, a 35-17 UA win, the Show Me State talent focused in on his future position in Tuscaloosa.
“They looked really good, defense looked really tough. Wisconsin is well known for their offensive line and they just looked exhausted out there,” Scales said. “Obviously on the offensive side of the ball they looked good. With O.J. Howard, coach Saban said they’d try to get him the ball more, so that was nice for the tight end position. But they looked real strong on offense, it was exciting to see them play.
“Coach Saban said when there’s a two tight end set on the field, I’d be the H-back, which is the more athletic tight end position. Then if we’re in one tight end set, I’m the tight end, so I basically just watched O.J. Howard and what he did out there.”
In between family and game observations, Scales was able to spend time with some future Alabama teammates also able to make the trip to Arlington, Texas.
“I like to talk to some of the recruits, I talked to Jalen Hurts, Kendell Jones, Chris Owens, and I sat by Jalen, it was pretty good,” he said. “But I really try to enjoy it with my family, the recruits are going to be there with me, so I want my family to get acclimated and see how comfortable I’m going to be. So I like to be there mostly with my family and as a spectator to see what my position does on the field.
“We got put into a group message with Kendell, Chris, Jalen and some of the others guys and I can kind of feel the camaraderie. It’s nice and when we’re at the game we were saying, ‘that’s us in the next year or two.’ We kind of just respected the game more together, to see how large of a scale it is. They’re from Texas, so they play on a large scale, but it’s nowhere near like that at Alabama. So we respected the game more together.”
May Scales be Alabama’s most solid out-of-state commitment despite today’s recruiting climate? No visits elsewhere are likely for him this fall.
“Since I committed a lot of schools aren’t talking to me as much because I try to make it clear that I’m a hard commit,” he said. “But some still try to keep in contact, my dad tells me just to respect all of the teams. I try to respect it, but I also let them know, ‘if I was committed to your school, I wouldn’t be talking to other schools, I wouldn’t play games.’
“Why decommit from Alabama? There’s nothing better than Alabama out there, so I like to focus on Alabama and try to cut everything else off.”
Scales, who says he currently weighs 230 pounds, is firmly focused on Lafayette’s 2015 season, which features him at multiple positions on both sides of the ball. After the season, the focus will merge with his personal goals of improving speed, flexibility, route-running and blocking. He also wants to report to Alabama with 10 more pounds on his frame.
But that reminding fact of his verbal commitment to Alabama still creates some dream-pinching scenarios for one of the nation’s top tight end talents.
“I’m still in shock with the fan-base, people keeping in touch, Twitter, edits, I’m still being welcomed even though I’ve been committed a while,” Scales said. “There’s newer commitments, offers and stuff, but people still care about the ‘old news.’ It’s really nice.”