"That's what I needed to know," Coach Paul Randolph said. And so he convinced Prattville's Travis McCall, an outstanding tight end, to sign with the Crimson Tide and become a defensive end.
McCall had helped Prattville to the quarterfinals of the state 6A championship playoffs as the state's all-state tight end. He was listed as the nation's 15th best tight end by Scout.com.
And almost everyone expected him to be redshirted in 2004 while he learned his new defensive end position, even though, as McCall said, "I had played a little defensive end as a junior."
And he also said he "would have been happy wherever they put me. I just wanted to play football for Alabama."
As it turned out, his entry into Bama was delayed a year while he completed some academic work. And it was time well spent. In addition to getting his school work in order, McCall spent time in the weight room. He had been 230 pounds when Alabama signed him in 2004. When he re-signed this year he was bigger and stronger.
McCall, 6-2, reported to Bama on Monday officially as a tight end weighing 260 pounds.
Additionally, he spent the summer in Tuscaloosa picking up come courses and is nine hours up on freshmen entering in August.
McCall said, "I'm happy to be coming in as a tight end. It's a position I'm used to. I think I have a good chance to play, although there is good competition at the position."
Another person who was happy was Assistant Coach Dave Ungerer, who said last week, "I'm proud to announce that Travis McCall will be on offense." Ungerer coaches Bama tight ends.
McCall said, "My goal is to play. I don't know how much I'll play. That will depend on how fast I learn the system. I got pretty acclimated to the summer workouts and I think I'm in good shape. I took part in the pass skel work this summer. And I looked at film. The older guys have been helpful in teaching us."
McCall grew up an Alabama fan. He is aware of the recent pipeline of players from Prattville to Alabama. "People in Prattville talk about that," he said. "But I like Tuscaloosa. It reminds me of home."
Alabama started pre-season camp with a couple of days in shorts and helmets. The Tide was to be in shorts, shoulder pads and helmets Thursday and Friday. And Saturday full gear and full speed contact will be the order of the day.
That is what Travis McCall is looking for. "I'm anxious to get the pads on," he said. "I've been out of football a long time."