Is he or isn't he?

With the recent coaching change at Alabama, defensive end/tight end prospect Mario Lane decided to look around at other schools. Then this week he told <I></I> that his commitment to the Tide remains "firm," but at the same time he's listening to what other recruiters have to say.

Immediately after hearing the news of the coaching change at Alabama, Mario Lane told that he no longer considered himself committed to the Tide. At the time he also added that "I don't look at the (coaching change) as a big deal," and that "Alabama is still the team to beat."

Lane has set up an official visit to Arkansas (1-10), and Florida, Tennessee, Auburn and South Carolina are also pressuring him to visit.

Lane's official visit to Alabama was scheduled for the first week in December (12-6), but he and Coach Randy Ross agreed to reschedule that visit so that the Tide's new head coach, Mike Price, will be on hand to meet with Lane.

Despite the pressure from other schools, Lane told this week that "My commitment to Alabama is firm."

Perhaps the fastest rising prospect in the state of Alabama this year, when Lane (6-5, 242, 4.7) made his commitment to Alabama over the summer he was a virtual unknown. However, during his senior year he made a believer out of many previous doubters.

A big man with the ability to run, Lane became a force his senior year on defense, racking up 47 tackles and 20 quarterback sacks. He averaged two sacks per game and his coaches frankly lost count of his quarterback hurries.

Before this season Lane was noted mainly as a tight end. He caught 36 passes as a junior for Montgomery's Carver High School for a total of 960 yards.

Following his senior year, Lane is now rated the 17th-best prospect in the state of Alabama by recruiting experts.

An extremely gifted athlete, Lane has a 32-inch vertical jump. He bench presses 295 pounds and squats more than 500 pounds.

Lane reports a 2.6 GPA and has scored 16 on the ACT.

EDITOR'S NOTES: Most of Lane's wavering occurred while Alabama was without a head coach. He likes what he's seen so far from Coach Price, and it's reasonable to assume that the Tide will be able to make up any lost ground once the new staff is in place.

Qualifying for Lane is not out of reach, but there are concerns.

NOTE: Normally, this would be a Crimson Ticket story, available only to subscribers.

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