Childress hopes classroom work will pay off

Playing defensive tackle in the SEC is no easy chore, but after what Ahmad Childress has accomplished over the last several months, he should have no problem.

The 6-7, 323-pound Childress arrived in Tuscaloosa on Sunday with 24 other newcomers, only after passing nine hours this summer.

Think that's hard? Try passing 23 hours in the spring. Childress did just that at Garden City Community College, and tacked on his nine summer hours at Tennessee State.

Childress is expected to contend for playing time at defensive tackle right away.

"I never did give up hope that I would make it," Childress said. "But it was hard because I was constantly in the classroom, then the weight room, then running. Now I'm thinking all this hard work is going to pay off."

Childress was in the classroom five days a week at Garden City CC for most of the day. He attended four classes every day of the week except Friday, with the toughest being a five-hour course in Anatomy and Physiology. But after he received passing grades this summer, it was on to Tuscaloosa to live out a dream.

"I was driving with my momma trying to get to sleep," Childress said. "But I was so excited about coming to play Alabama football that I couldn't go to sleep but for like five minutes."

Childress' accomplishments didn't stop in the classroom. He lost 22 pounds from his spring weight of 345, and reported at 323 pounds to fit his 6-foot 7-inch frame.

"When I got home (to Nashville), I had a good friend that's a personal trainer," Childress said. "He got me on a diet and on a weight lifting and running program."

The weight training program made Childress think that he could come in and contribute immediately. As a sophomore, Childress will have three years to play three, and Coach Dennis Franchione stated that he signed junior college players to play, not to redshirt.

"When I work out, that's all I think about, coming in and making a big impact and helping out the best I can," Childress said.

Surrounded by reporters, Childress fields questions after reporting to Alabama last Sunday.

When schools found out how much Childress had to accomplish to become eligible, they were scared off from recruiting him. Childress said schools such as Iowa State, Kansas State, and Michigan State, among others, backed off.

"A lot of people were recruiting me, but they found out I had 23 hours (to take care of in the spring)," Childress said. "They ran off, but Alabama stayed with me."

But now that Childress has arrived, he will see at least one familiar face. Derrick Pope, a linebacker, was close to Childress on and off the field at Garden City. Childress said that Pope was one of the main reasons he came to Alabama.

"Derrick, that's my best friend, he's like my brother," Childress said. "In junior college, we did everything. He said we should go to UA and do the same thing we did in Garden City. I said let's go for it, lets go play ball."

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