Coming out of Napa (Calif.) Vintage High School, Caleb Tremblay was a long and athletic 6-foot-4, around 200 pounds, but few college football programs noticed. He ended up at American River College and two years later, now 275 pounds, is considered one of the top junior college defensive line prospects available in the class of 2018.
The rising sophomore collected more than a dozen scholarship offers before the weekend, when he visited and camped at Alabama.
"I got there Friday and visited the whole school, checked it all out," he said. "Then Saturday, I did the camp and I did really good. So they were happy that I was there, they kind of mentioned that they wanted to make sure my highlight tape wasn't just athletic ability. At the camp they saw how explosive I was, like I broad jumped 10 feet, one inches, and did drills. They really liked it.
"I met with Coach (Nick) Saban and they offered me."
Tremblay, who registered 30 tackles, three sacks and a fumble recovery in nine games at American River College last year, worked out at both defensive end and defensive tackle.
"Mainly the three-tech, but I ran both positions. I can play both spots pretty comfortably," he said. "I have played defensive end my whole life and then just at ARC I played defensive tackle for the first time."
The workout was put on by many Alabama coaches, but the competition phase was directed by the rising prospect's lead recruiter.
"Tosh Lupoi was on me once I got by the guy, he was telling me to dip my shoulder more to take better angles to the quarterback," he said. "I had a lot of fun doing one-on-ones, getting the extra work. He is honestly a really great coach, I really like him, he made me feel really welcomed when I came up to Alabama. My dad came up with me and he really liked the coach.
"He's a really good technician, knows the game really well. Being around people who are really passionate and know what they're talking about it really cool."
Claiming no leaders at this stage with extensions in from Washington, Cal, Colorado, Arizona, Syracuse and several others in addition to Alabama, the Crimson Tide program and the city of Tuscaloosa left an impression on Tremblay.
"I really loved it out there, it's a really nice place," he said. "They're all about football there, it's really cool to see people all about football. Alabama is their only team out there so everyone is about football there. It's really a lot of fun."
The culture aspect of selecting a school is important in his recruitment.
"I really consider every school that offers me, it's not a hype thing for me, I'm really trying to find a place to go," Tremblay said. "It's really exciting to hear from these big schools, so I will have a big opportunity in school and in football. It's exciting.
"I'm going to pick my favorite schools, visit them and compare what they have to offer. When you get to a school you can really see how you fit in. I want to be able to play in a scheme, playing time's sake, the way they develop players is big to me. A great coaching staff, you can tell when the coaches all want you and need you. Also a good football culture, I love the culture of football around a school."
Next up for one of junior college's top defensive lineman is a trip to Colorado on Thursday before seeing Washington in July.
There is no timetable for making a verbal commitment ahead of a December graduation from American River. Tremblay has three seasons to play two following his transfer later this year.