Fanney picks Bama

Brandon Fanney, 6-5, 260, defensive lineman, from Morristown High West HS, Morristown, Tennessee, actually committed to Alabama on Tuesday night but wanted to keep quiet about it until his just-concluded official visit.

Andrew Bone of spoke to Fanney on the night he committed and he said, "I verbally committed to Alabama tonight. I informed Coach Sparky Woods that I would be coming to Alabama over Virginia Tech."

Fanney had narrowed his choice down to Virginia, Virginia Tech and Alabama--all excellent schools. But in the end the Crimson Tide's storied history and dedicated fans carried the day.

Waiting his turn at the vertical jump at last summer's Bama mini-camp, Brandon Fanney squints into the bright sun. He's matured since this picture was taken, adding layers of muscle across his chest and upper body.

"I really liked the tradition of Alabama, and I loved the people and fans I saw on my visits," Fanney said. "Tide fans just love Alabama football.

"I have always been a fan. Alabama has always been one of the teams I've pulled for."

Weighing 260 pounds now, Fanney is most often listed as a defensive end prospect. But he has the frame to add weight and move down inside. "I could do that," he acknowledged. "I'll do whatever is needed. I just want to be able to help somewhere on the defensive line."

The Alabama coaching staff in general has made a favorable impression this recruiting season with so many recruits and Fanney was no exception.

Fanney commented, "I feel like the coaching staff is really good. They are a young coaching staff and I feel like they are going to be there for a long time."

Interestingly, Fanney's high school coach is the brother of Tide assistant Sparky Woods. But he doesn't mind the prospect of four more years of "Coach Woods." "That would be okay," he said with a laugh. "They actually act and both look alike."

The fact that Coach Mike Shula played football for Alabama caught Fanney's attention. He said, "Coach Shula played at Alabama and the people of Alabama really respect him."

There has been much talk and speculation about recruits qualifying. Just now finishing up it's NCAA probation, it's critical that Alabama brings in its full allotment of 19 new scholarshipped players this fall.

The possibility of a so-called "grayshirt" has been discussed with more than one recruit. In that scenario, depending on how qualifying issues play out with other recruits, the athlete might be asked to delay entry into The University until January of 2005, at which point he would count against Bama's '05 scholarship numbers.

Barring unexpected qualifying good news from other Tide commitments, Fanney will report this fall as part of Bama's 2004 class.

The Tide coaches have discussed that possibility with Fanney. "They said it was up to me. Though if everything works out the way it probably will, I wouldn't be."

Defensive lineman Brandon Fanney is the 22nd prospect to commit to Alabama as part of the 2004 recruiting class.

RECRUITING NOTES: Alabama is allowed to bring in 19 new scholarshipped players this fall. The Tide is expected to sign as many as 22 to 24 players in February, anticipating that several will not become qualified. It's also possible that one or more players may be asked to delay entry into The University until the following January, counting against 2005 scholarship numbers, depending on how qualifying issues play out.

Read all of the recent recruiting stories on Alabama recruits from

Other Tide commitments include:

Cullman two-way lineman Justin Britt,
Lee High School guard/center Antoine Caldwell,
Fort Payne safety Marcus Carter,
Briarwood Christian cornerback Simeon Castille,
T.R. Miller tight end Trent Davidson,
Hillcrest High School offensive tackle Cody Davis,
Evergreen offensive lineman Drew Davis,
Hoover middle linebacker/defensive lineman Curtis Dawson,
Prattville defensive lineman Kevin Hamilton,
Hoover defensive end Jeramie Holifield,
Thomasville defensive back Aaron Johns,
Randolph County wide receiver Ezekiel Knight,
Prattville tight end/athlete Travis McCall,
Fort Payne wide receiver Aaron McDaniel,
Jacksonville, Fla. wide receiver Will Oakley,
Hillcrest cornerback Travis Robinson,
Clarke County offensive tackle B.J. Stabler,
Hartselle wide receiver Nikita Stover,
Northwest Mississippi Community College defensive tackle Chris Turner,
Pike County tight end Nick Walker, and
Hoover quarterback John Parker Wilson.

NOTE: East Central (Miss.) Community College running back/wide receiver Titus Ryan also committed to Alabama, but he subsequently withdrew from college, and it's now considered impossible for him to be a part of this year's signing class.

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