Tide picks up commitment from Sunshine State

Football games are won in the trenches, and athletic linemen capable of playing defensive tackle are worth their weight in gold on the recruiting trail. But thanks to yeoman work by D-Line Coach Stan Eggen, the Tide has picked up a big commitment from Andraus Grace of Fort Meade, Florida.

"I told Coach Fran about my decision last night, and he told me to go to the hotel and think about it," Grace said following today's camp. "But I had made my decision."

A powerfully built defensive tackle who has helped lead his team to three consecutive state runner up finishes, Grace stays well balanced in his stance and he fires off under complete control.

Grace stands 6-1 ½ and weighs 292 pounds. He has been clocked at 5.00 in the 40-yard dash, and achieved a 25-inch vertical jump during today's testing.

Grace is the seventh prospect to give a verbal commitment to Alabama this recruiting season.

Grace has no personal ties to Alabama, but Coach Eggen spotted him early and swayed the tackle prospect with tenacious recruiting. "I really like Coach Eggen," Grace said. "He's a nice man to be around. He always came to visit me. Actually, I really like all the coaches."

The big man is very hard to move in the middle and he usually disrupts the opponent's running game totally. He manhandles most centers and he is strong enough to shed blocks effectively.

The Florida native was credited with 103 tackles and eight sacks as a junior, showing not only his run stopping ability, but also speed to the outside on pursuit. Since he plays at a small Class A school, Grace doubles as an offensive guard. Last season he graded 80 percent blocking and posted 100 pancakes.

Nicknamed "Cujo," Grace has already begun to make friends among his prospective teammates. "Last night I hung around a lot with the players," he said. "We had a good time."

Grace is rated among the top 50 players in the Sunshine State and was being recruited by the big three (Florida, FSU, Miami) in state.

Grace has very good overall strength, bench pressing 375 pounds and squatting more than 500. LSU (offer), Iowa State and North Carolina were also recruiting Grace.

True freshmen linemen playing their first year on campus are a rarity, but Grace has been challenged. He explained, "Coach Eggen told me about the depth chart. I was talking to the ones that are leaving. They've got three seniors leaving. Coach Eggen challenged me. He wants me to come in and be ready to play.

"I plan to work hard and do what I've got to do."

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