'Leaving the Nest': William Ming

Susan Ming likes the fact her son, William, chose a school with a "rich football tradition." After all, she witnessed what Alabama tradition was all about as a student in the late 1970s.

"When I was going to college there 'Bear' Bryant was the coach," said Mrs. Ming. "I was at the 1979 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans when we played Penn State."

The Tide prevailed 14-7 in the game now recognized among the best ever played highlighted by the 'Bama defense's momentous goal line stand with the clock winding down in the 4th quarter.

As she watched the likes of Barry Krauss, Marty Lyons, and Curtis McGriff play in that game, little did she know 30 years later she'd bring her son to Tuscaloosa in hopes of cementing his own legacy in Tide lore.

"We're all big Alabama fans," Susan Ming said. "It was a neat experience getting to see the campuses. We had a great time seeing the traditions at each school. We took trips to Alabama, of course, and Auburn, Tennessee, LSU and Notre Dame. We would have liked to have visited more, but ran out of time."

William Ming, out of Athens, Ala., had offers from all of those schools and more such as Clemson, FSU, Michigan, Georgia, Oklahoma, Georgia Tech and Mississippi State. To sum it up, the Mings could have done a lot more traveling because they weren't short on invitations.

"William wanted to go ahead and commit to Alabama last summer," Susan Ming said. "He knew Alabama was where he wanted to be. He liked the attention he received from the schools and the media coverage, but was getting tired of all the calls and questions. I think he wanted to get it out of the way so he could concentrate on his senior year with school and practice."

Ming was recruited by Coach Curt Cignetti and gave his verbal commitment to Alabama July 22, 2008.

William Ming plays defensive end, stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 265 lbs. Susan Ming says her son started receiving letters from colleges during his sophomore year of high school.

"They (Athens) won the 5A championship that year (2006). William was a starter on that team. He started receiving letters and offers from then all the way down to his last year," she said.

The time has come for William Ming to embark on a new chapter in his life, and the turn around was fast.

"William graduated on May 28th," said Mrs. Ming. "We left two days later to take him to Bryant Hall. My husband and I met his three roommates. He seems to be doing fine."

William's roommates at Bryant Hall are fellow first year student-athletes Kellen Williams, Anthony Steen and Sam Buckingham, a walk-on from Oregon.

Fortunately for the Mings the drive from Athens to Tuscaloosa is only a little more than two hours, not a bad drive at all to make on a fall Saturday.

"I think it's a great opportunity for William," said Susan Ming. "He gets to play close to home and for a great coach and disciplinarian in Coach Saban."

One day Susan may see her son make a game-saving tackle in the Sugar Bowl, but right now she's excited to have him enrolled at Alabama.

"He's the first one of our children to go off to college," she says proudly.

William is the Ming's oldest child. They also have a 16-year old daughter, Elizabeth, and a 12-year old daughter, Sarah.

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