First official visit weekend set

With the semester about to end, Alabama has one official visit weekend scheduled before the holidays. Latest reports have five athletes scheduled to trip to Tuscaloosa this weekend.

Schools naturally want to show off campus life to visiting recruits, so official visits are rarely scheduled unless classes are in session. Alabama will host five recruits this weekend, with the next bunch not scheduled until after the holidays on January 9.

Recruiting is always fluid, and it's a rare visit list that doesn't see at least some changes. But latest reports indicate that defensive lineman David Brown, running back Lavarus Giles, safety Kyle Jackson and junior college teammates Chris Turner and Terrence Smith will all take official visits to Alabama beginning Friday, December 5.

Brown (6-3, 255, 4.8), out of Bob Jones High School in Madison, Alabama, has long been considered one of Alabama's top recruits for the defensive line. Extremely athletic, he could play either end or tackle, but Brown is projected by most scouts to end up inside. He has been recruited by some of the top schools in the nation, including Notre Dame. But Brown has continuously kept his home-state school at the top of his list.

Giles (6-1, 205, 4.45) is an interesting prospect. Best known as a sprinter in high school, he won his state's 100-meter dash championship as a junior and placed second in the 200-. With those credentials, the Benoit, Mississippi athlete's 4.45 clocking in the 40-yard dash could well be legitimate. Alabama will probably sign one more running back, and it could come down to either Giles or Markus Manson (currently committed to Florida).

Viewed as one of the top prospects in Florida, Jackson (6-1, 176, 4.61) could project at either tailback or safety, but most scouts have him slotted for defense. Out of Duncan Fletcher High School in Neptune Beach, Florida, Jackson is probably leaning slightly toward the in-state Gators. But his interest in the Tide is obviously serious.

Northwest Mississippi Community College will be well represented this weekend in Tuscaloosa. Both Turner and Smith are seen as big-time prospects and good possibilities to be included in Bama's 2003 class. Turner could end up at either end or tackle, though he prefers the outside. Smith is a former defensive end, who found his niche this year at middle linebacker.

PLEASE NOTE: Chris Herring (6-1, 300), a teammate of Turner and Smith's at Northwest, has told several writers (including our own) that he will also travel to Tuscaloosa this weekend. However, our latest information indicates that will not be the case.

Walter Fisher (6-4, 245, 4.8), a defensive end/tight end prospect out of Hillsboro High School in Nashville, Tennessee had been scheduled to visit Tuscaloosa this weekend. However, team obligations in Nashville have forced him to cancel. Fisher does intend to reschedule for sometime in January.

Also a sprint champion, Lavarus Giles is being recruited by the Tide to play running back.

RECRUITING NOTES: This information is as accurate as we can make it as of 3:57 pm on Wednesday, December 3. The point is that recruiting is extremely fluid. Things change. As we learn of those changes, we'll pass them along to our readers.

Alabama's Football Complex Annex is nearing completion. However, coaches and staffers are not scheduled to move in until after the New Year. It should be available for at least partial use for that first official visit weekend (January 9).

Athletes normally arrive for official visits by Friday evening and leave before lunch on Sunday. During official visits, the host school pays for all expenses, including food and lodging, for the recruit and family members. The school also either arranges or pays for transportation to and from the campus.

During official visits the coaches take the time to get to know the athlete and his family better. Time is taken to tour all facilities. Meetings are set up with pertinent faculty reps to explain academics, etc.

Normal procedure is to pair up each recruit with one member of the current team, who acts as a sort of tour guide during the weekend. A Bama Belle is also assigned to each recruit and his family. When the basketball team is in town, a trip to that game is guaranteed, to give the young man a flavor of Crimson Tide athletics.

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