Charles Baldwin is somewhat familiar with Alabama. He’s been recruited by the Crimson Tide for some time, pulled the trigger during a June trip to Tuscaloosa and has been rock solid on the commitment list ever since.
But the weekend brought not only his official visit to campus, but his first game atmosphere at Bryant-Denny Stadium as UA rolled by Charleston Southern.
“It was different because I actually got to see the atmosphere of the game, I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said. “The fans support the players 100 percent and it was a live atmosphere.”
The nation’s top junior college offensive lineman, Baldwin’s 48 hours in town featured a bit of everything and everyone. He even tried to get better on the field by taking mental reps.
“The campus was fun, I met a lot of really cool people, but most of the time I was just focused on watching film with some of the players and getting better,” he said. “I watched a little bit with coach (Mario) Cristobal and some with Dominick Jackson and Shank (Alphonse Taylor). They gave me some pointers and showed me the ropes, basically.”
The pair of upperclassmen offensive linemen hosted the four-star. Jackson was also a prized junior college recruit in UA’s 2014 class.
“They were good hosts. They toured me around and I had some fun with those guys. That was all fun for me. I think Dominick ate the most but me and Shank aren’t too far behind,” he said with a laugh.
The group’s position coach, who helped pluck Baldwin from ASA College of Excellence in Brooklyn, New York, has been vital throughout his recruitment and it continued on the visit despite rumours of Cristobal being a hot name for many vacant jobs.
“Me and coach Cristobal have a really good relationship, seeing him again was just one of those things -- everything was going good. But that’s not really new, we have such a good relationship,” he said. “It’s important that he be there when I get there because he recruited me and that’s one of the best relationships there. But whatever he decides to do, he decides to do. I’m just committed to the school.”
[Related: Listen to the full Charles Baldwin interview]
Nick Saban also got a message or two across.
“I met with him several times during the days I was out there and Sunday we ate breakfast at his house, that was pretty sweet,” Baldwin said. “It was cool, he has a beautiful home and coach Saban is really the same all the way around. He’s a straight-forward guy.”
Baldwin’s next trip to Tuscaloosa will likely be when he moves into his dormitory.
“I’m expected to be there in early January, I’ll be taking my finals here early at ASA so I can get out there,” he said. “They’re telling me they want me to contribute right away, so when I get there in the Spring my biggest thing will be learning the playbook and working hard for a spot. I’ll be playing right tackle.”
With a short timeline, other schools not slowing their pursuit of him and the chance to potentially visit other programs, this transfer has elected not to.
“I won’t be going on any other visits, I’m solid with my commitment, Alabama is the place for me,” Baldwin said.