Nearly two years ago, then 6-foot 1/2, 240-pound Hoover (Ala.) freshman defensive lineman Khamari Brown visited the Alabama Crimson Tide with the hopes of beginning a relationship that could one day lead to major interest or a scholarship offer.
This past weekend, as Nick Saban and company prepare to open the 2016 slate against USC, Brown was back on campus and turned heads on the staff after measuring in at just north of 6-foot-2, 280 pounds. Like on his initial visit, anchoring the Hoover Buc defensive line still carries weight according to Saban and new defensive line coach Karl Dunbar.
"They love me, they said to keep up the good work and to stay in contact with them," Brown said. "They love my size and how I've been playing varsity since I was a freshman at Hoover. I talked to coach Saban when I was down there, he was telling me the same thing about keeping up the good work.
"It just shows me what I'm doing will eventually pay off."
Before that point, the class of 2018 talent took part in defensive line meetings and kept a close eye on the group during the portion of practice Dunbar ran.
"I had a good experience, watched their D-line practice, I learned a couple of things I might be using," he said. "I learned some different pass-rushing techniques, like when the offensive lineman is sitting back, how to get them to open up, things like that.
The style of Dunbar, who came to Alabama from the NFL, impressed the young trench talent.
"He's a good coach, I talked to him, he's a nice guy," Brown said. "He is a very hands-on guy, I think he's going to be a really good coach for them."
While awaiting his initial scholarship offer, continued interest from the defending national champions could go a long way despite the junior being in the very early stages of the recruiting process.
"They're number one on my list, I just have always liked how they work," he said. "How they practice is how I want to practice and how I think I can learn, like through their drills. Like me, it's dedication and hard work."