Blistering speed to Bama

Finishing with a flourish, Alabama garnered yet another key commitment today as stellar athlete Titus Ryan made his decision to sign with the Tide.

Judged by many recruiting experts to be the most physically gifted offensive prospect in the state, Ryan (6-2, 195) considered several options before pledging to close-by Alabama. "I committed to Alabama today," Ryan told Tuesday evening. "I enjoyed myself on my visit. I really like the coaches, too."

Said to be the fastest prospect in the state of Alabama, Ryan could project at several positions on the college level. But he will likely begin at either tailback or wide receiver.

A native of Northport, Ryan didn't have to travel far for his official visit to The University, which took place last weekend. On that visit he was hosted by Brandon Brooks.

Ryan has blistering speed, excellent hands and plays with a physical mentality. If not for questions regarding his eligibility, the speedster might well be rated the top prospect in the state.

"Alabama is close to home, so my mother can come see me play," Ryan said.

Exclusively a track star until his junior year of high school, Ryan is just now beginning to discover his potential on the football field. And while most 40-yard dash times circulated during recruiting are almost always inflated, Ryan's 4.4 clocking is said to be legitimate.

Utilizing that blazing speed, Ryan returned four punts and one kick off for touchdowns in 2001.

This past season he starred for Tuscaloosa County principally at tailback, rushing for 1,251 yards and 17 touchdowns. But Ryan is said to have just as much potential at wide receiver.

Though new to the game of football, Ryan is a physical athlete, unafraid of contact. He played situational defense for Tuscaloosa County, seeing duty at both cornerback and free safety.

Ryan camped at Alabama this past summer, giving the Tide coaches an up-close look at his talent. He was recruited for the Tide by Assistant Coach Chris Thurmond.

Ryan also considered Jacksonville St., Louisville, Middle Tennessee, Mississippi State, UAB and Auburn. If Ryan had projected as a full qualifier, that group of schools would undoubtedly have been much larger.

EDITOR'S NOTE: At this point, Ryan's qualification status is uncertain. Several options are available to him, including delaying his entry into The University until January of 2003 while he works to become fully eligible.

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