Waco, Texas means plenty to Kedrick James. It's his hometown and it's where the La Vega High School standout tight end prospect thought he'd play his college football with an early commitment to Baylor.
But like many following the unfortunate circumstances on campus, the four-star recruit backed off of the commitment and hit the reset button on the process.
It accelerated quickly, with plenty of suitors coast to coast, but ended Sunday night. About 10 days after setting foot in Tuscaloosa for the first time, the rising-senior is now considered an Alabama commitment.
"A couple of minutes ago, I'd say 30 or 45 minutes ago, along with my mother and father, we sat down in the room and made sure this was the best decision for me," James said. "Then we called coach [Billy] Napier to commit to the University of Alabama. He couldn't stop, he was making a whole lot of random noises, he was really excited. I called coach [Mario] Cristobal afterwards and he was doing the same thing, I know both were really excited.
"The number of titles that Nick Saban has under his belt were a big factor, also how he develops his players, not only as players but as men. I met most players, I know that most players who have had the success under Nick Saban would be bragging about themselves but the players at the University of Alabama are humble and hungry."
Being in town with his family for the Champions Cookout July 22, there were similarities with Waco that helped UA's chances.
"Tuscaloosa really reminds me a lot of my hometown," he said. "There's a lot, the atmosphere, the city. I hung out with some of the tight ends on the team now after the cookout, seeing how everybody was acknowledging the players, everybody was nice and friendly towards everyone. You're not really going to find that. It had a major impact on my decision.
"I feel like me being around that type of atmosphere would keep me humble and keep me hungry every day. I feel this is best for my future as a football player."
On the field, even with the defending national champions, James will be hard to miss. He says he measured in at 6-foot-6, 250 pounds with a 6-foot-11 wingspan this month. That frame, Alabama says, will enhance both its running game and passing game in the future.
"They told me, of course, I'll be blocking and they'll use me as an extra receiver when needed to create mismatches with the defense," he said. "I can go one-on-one with corners, safeties, linebackers, however they can use me and I'm okay with that."
The rising-senior and his family are also okay with the process being over, again. James said it was tough all the way around, but especially of late.
"It's a relief, going through this process is really stressful with people pressuring you, 'go to this school, go to that school, don't go to this school because they don't do this,' but now it's all over," he said. "I can focus on my senior year in high school and finish up school strong."
James plans on graduating from La Vega next spring before enrolling at Alabama next year.