Key D-Line recruit visiting this weekend

Tide fans anxious to add a couple more qualified defensive linemen to this year's class were somewhat dismayed when K.T. Mainard returned from his official visit to South Carolina, naming the Gamecocks and Tide as co-leaders. But that post-visit pronouncement may or may not be reason for concern.

Alabama garnered a commitment last week from Brandon Fanney, another combo-lineman from the Volunteer State, and Bama's coaches obviously hope Mainard will be next.

Capable of playing defensive end or tackle, K.T. Mainard (6-4, 265, 4.7) has consistently named Alabama among his Top 3, most of the time listing them first. In an earlier interview on January 9 with Andrew Bone of, Mainard said, "I want to take my official visits but I might commit next weekend after my official visit to Alabama."

The Coalmont, Tennessee native is scheduled to travel to Tuscaloosa this weekend for his official visit.

Asked to elaborate on his feelings about Alabama, Mainard replied, "I love the tradition. It's a nice place and they have a very young team."

Like most recruits, a chance to contribute early is also high on Mainard's list. This past weekend on his visit to South Carolina, apparently the Gamecock coaches did a bit of creative writing, presenting Mainard with an Alabama depth chart supposedly overloaded with young defensive linemen. In large part due to that "impression," Mainard came away from South Carolina listing Bama and SC as co-leaders.

Given the harsh reality of Bama's actual situation at the position, it won't take the Tide coaches long this weekend to put a lie to that claim. And Alabama's stellar business school should also give the Tide an edge.

"I'm just looking to see how it feels as a football school," Mainard told Mark Murphy of in a late-December interview discussing official visits. "I'm not going just for football though. The dorms are a big thing and how I fit in with the players. I want to major in either business management or sports management."

After visiting Alabama this weekend, Mainard is scheduled for Auburn on the 23rd. The Florida coaches have been asking for a visit on the 30th. Mainard said he's considering switching the Auburn and Florida dates.

After leading Grundy County High School into the playoffs, Mainard finished his senior season with 121 total tackles (80 solo), 14 tackles for a loss, eight quarterback sacks, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.

"I'm just quick off the ball on the outside," Mainard told Murphy in the December interview. "Everybody knows I'm going to make the play. I always try to make every play. My speed is my biggest strength."

A four-year starter, Mainard also saw some playing time on offense. He played some tight end, fullback, in the slot and also saw some time at running back. But clearly the big man's strength is on the defensive side of the football.

Mainard claims 21 total scholarship offers, but at this point he's only considering Alabama, South Carolina, Colorado (where he took a December official visit), Florida and Auburn.

Sources indicate Mainard is expected to qualify.

RECRUITING NOTES: Alabama is allowed to bring in 19 new scholarshipped players this fall. The Tide is expected to sign as many as 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.

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