Three-star Oneonta (Ala.) linebacker prospect Riley Cole picked up a lot of recruiting steam in June, snagging his first few Power 5 offers before Alabama presented one he couldn't turn down. Since then several suitors have inquired about getting him on campus but the versatile talent "shrugged them away."
The only official visit he'd take would be to Tuscaloosa and it went down right out of the dead period.
"It was pretty amazing, I got to experience a bunch of the campus I hadn't gotten to before," Cole said. "Normally when I go down there it's usually football stuff and the stadium, that's about it. This time we got to see the student center, the cafeteria and how campus life usually is. I thought it was great, I loved it.
"I was able to hang around with some of the players, like Keaton Anderson and Hale (Hentges). Some recruits, too, like Brendan Scales and Miller Forristall, who is already down there. Keaton loves it there, it was good to hang out with him and get a feel for the campus life and how they do things."
A defender who played all over the front-seven for a stout Oneonta defense the last several years, Cole has bulked up to 224 pounds while getting completely over a knee injury that shortened his senior season. The Crimson Tide views him as an inside linebacker down the road, a projection reiterated by UA's new defensive coordinator.
"Me and coach (Jeremy) Pruitt sat down and talked for a while. It was my first time," he said. "We actually watched my film and he was diagnosing what I do good and some little things I need to work on. It was pretty cool being coached by him already. He liked my instinctiveness but he said I need to work on my footwork a little bit. He said it wasn't bad, but is something very little you could improve very quick.
"I got a really good vibe from him and personality wise, we get along great. I can't wait to get down there to be around him more."
The linebacker MVP of last year's Nike camp in Atlanta also sat down with Nick Saban before returning home.
"Me and coach Saban sat down and talked," Cole said. "He was just checking up on me, asking how things were going and how the season went. He asked me how my knee was doing. We were catching up and then he started saying the same things coach Pruitt was saying about my game."
Isolating food as the best part of the official visit, along with hoops at Saban's house after a big breakfast Sunday morning, there was also a national championship buzz in town for the duration of the trip.
"Everybody was in good spirits and happy about it, it was pretty much the talk of the town wherever you went," he said. "It was unreal watching the team you're going to play for playing for the national championship, and actually winning it was unreal."
Cole will not take any additional visits ahead of national signing day. He plans to have a small ceremony at the high school to make things official with Alabama the morning of February 3.