Since camping at Alabama and earning a verbal scholarship offer in July, the Crimson Tide has been in the driver's seat for Hampton (Va.) four-star defensive line recruit Elijah Conliffe. He has added several newer extensions, but the defending champs have remained ahead of the pace.
On Saturday, he returned to Tuscaloosa for the first time since picking up the offer, but this time he was able to bring his parents to town for the first time, and it only helped No. 1's chances at his commitment and eventual signature.
"It got a little stronger," Conliffe said of UA's lead for his services following the weekend trip. It involved considerable time with Alabama coaches both before and after the team's win over fellow top-10 program Texas A&M. "I would say probably 'Bama at the top..."
"I got to talk to coach (Karl) Dunbar for a little bit," Conliffe said. "He thinks I can make an impact for the team when I get in, I could help the rotation, learn the techniques. Most of the time he was really talking to my parents about what he does and more about him.
"I want them to be comfortable for wherever I go."
The plan going forward for the senior, who says he did not contemplate committing during the visit, is to bring his parents on more trips with college programs in the running as the recruiting process begins to wind down. The two had high praise for their first Tuscaloosa experience.
"I think they're pretty comfortable, they liked the coaching staff, the atmosphere and the fans," he said. "They liked it there. It was real loud, I could see how people really love Alabama football, the crowd really stands on their feet when the defense makes a play and when the offense makes a play."
Conliffe said he was able to reconnect with Dunbar briefly on Sunday before heading back to Virginia and his parents did the same with Nick Saban. The group discussed returning for an official visit at some point.
"I want to take all my visits and see what happens from there," he said. "I know (my parents) want me to be pretty much set up for success off the football field as well as on the football field, that's one big thing. Plus, be in a safe environment and all that."