In the summer of 2015 Hampton (Va.) defensive line prospect Elijah Conliffe participated at the Alabama Crimson Tide prospect camp in search of another scholarship offer, as his name began building some buzz on the trail.
It didn't happen.
A year later, as the final Nick Saban camp of the summer went down this week, he was back in Tuscaloosa with the same goal. A little bigger and more technical, he says, and the good news came down from the head coach himself.
"When I got to Alabama it was pretty much all about business," he said. "I wanted to get there, get the offer, and we could have some fun afterwards. I went, did my drills during three days I was there. Wednesday, I worked out in front of Nick Saban at the camp and all the coaches had nothing but good things to say about me.
"Then they called me into his office and that's when we talked about the offer."
The goal one year in the making nearly led to a verbal commitment for the defending national champions, but he held off.
"It was pretty much about coming home and talking to my mom about it," Conliffe said. But UA does now top his list of more than two dozen Power 5 scholarship offers.
"(They're) Probably at the top right now," he said. "I really like Alabama, I worked really hard for this offer. I love the facilities, I love the academic part of everything, like how they support you. They support student-athletes who want to be engineers. Coach Saban was telling me they have a handful of players on the team who do engineering so it's not that much of a problem. He was telling me how the tutors work and how serious they are about that.
"My mom was really excited to hear that. We really didn't talk about football too much, it was more about how much they wanted me, the program and how they carry things around there."
On the field, Alabama covets the rising-senior and now four-star with his hand in the ground. Crimson Tide defensive line coach Karl Dunbar worked him out at both defensive end and defensive tackle.
"The defensive line coach [Dunbar] basically said he can't coach my size, my effort, my determination," Conliffe said. "Those are things he can't coach but the things I have problems with like my hands and my hips, those are coachable things. He coaches with a lot of passion and wants to see the players be the best they can be, that means a lot to me because when I come in I'm going to need to be developed.
"I'd trust him to get me where I need to be."
Conliffe plans on returning to Tuscaloosa with his mother for the Iron Bowl. He is likely to visit in-state Virginia Tech this weekend for its recruiting cookout event.