Chad Simmons

South’s No. 2 OT, Austin Troxell, sees Alabama despite torn ACL. ‘I couldn’t miss that one.’

Alabama hosted elite prospects from all over the country on Saturday, but in-state elites made the trip as well. Despite the difficulty coming off of an ACL tear, top Alabama junior Austin Troxell did, too.

“I went to ‘Bama,” Austin Troxell said.

Expected words during a big home-game weekend in Tuscaloosa when it comes to the state’s top junior football prospect. But this trek wasn’t routine.

While helping to defend Madison (Ala.) Academy’s state championship in an opening round playoff game Thursday night, a 56-21 win over Weaver (Ala.), the four-star offensive tackle tore his ACL.

“I tore my ACL Thursday. It sucked having to go everywhere on crutches but I enjoyed being down there, but I couldn’t miss that one,” he said. “It was tough not being able to sit out in the stadium because of my injury, but I really enjoyed talking to the coaches.”

Speaking with potential offensive line coach Mario Cristobal, area-recruiter Mel Tucker and even to Nick Saban, there was considerable encouragement for Troxell despite the bad news.

“The coaches just told me that the injury is more common nowadays and that I’ll come back stronger than ever,” he said. “Everything is still the same (with recruiting). Coach Tucker, coach Cristobal and Coach Saban told me that. They told me rehab is going to be hard but you just have to grind through it.

“I can’t wait. I know it’s going to be hard but I’m ready for it.”

With scholarship offers throughout the SEC and beyond, the top junior continues to maintain no leaders in his recruitment. His timetable that is likely to stretch towards next year, most figure the race to come down to each in-state power.

Either way Alabama figures to factor into an eventual decision.

“I like ‘Bama and I think when it comes time to decide, they’ll be up towards the top of my choices,” he said.

Madison Academy hosts Higdon (Ala.) North Sand Mountain Friday night. Troxell is likely to have surgery in the next two weeks.

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