The spring and summer circuit has upped the recruitment of class of 2018 offensive tackle Reuben Unije to a torrid pace with recent offers from Florida, Virginia Tech and others in a short span. On Saturday, it was the defending national champions who came calling during a trip to Alabama as the Alpharetta (Ga.) John's Creek standout was there to compete at its OL/DL camp Saturday.
"We got there early, got a tour and started competing. Once we started flexing I was in my zone," he said. "Then I had my one-on-ones and I was going against all JUCO kids and I was doing me, doing what I do.
"It was reassuring because I know I can play at the next level, dominating these junior college guys."
Amid going against college prospects, the 16-year-old Unije gained confidence and felt scholarship news on the horizon.
"I had a clue because [defensive coordinator ]coach [Jeremy] Pruitt said they were gonna offer me," he said. "Then they called me up to Coach [Nick] Saban's office and he said, 'we want to offer you.'"
The emerging talent nearly pulled the trigger right then and there.
"What would make you not commit to Alabama? That's the real question," he said, laughing.
Though he held back, he took in everything Saban detailed about his skill and the recruiting process itself.
"The things a lot of schools emphasize is how athletic I am and they said they loved that," Unije said. "There's a lot of big people but not many are athletic like me. My speed is good, my hands are good, all of that. It's just my second year playing football so I should have a high ceiling."
Soccer was the rising-junior's primary sport most of his life as his mother feared significant injury in football. It changed as high school began and now few in the Peach State's class of 2018 have become as coveted by college programs.
It was the initial Tuscaloosa experience.
"I just liked the facility, it was nice," he said. "The coaches were very energetic, they are good coaches and it was a good overall experience. 'Bama is awesome, it's a class-A school, so they're up there (but) no school really leads. NC State was my first offer, Alabama I love, Florida I love, Virginia Tech, Mizzou, they're all pretty equal."
Unije, who plans on camping at Florida State sometime soon, has no timetable for a verbal commitment at this time.