Nine recruits visit Alabama

Nine recruits were in Tuscaloosa this weekend, including eight on official visits and one paying his own way for an unofficial trip. Five of the visitors are at least publicly committed to other schools, two have pledged to sign with Alabama and two say they are undecided.

Chad Jackson (above)
WR, 6-1, 196, 4.5, Hoover HS, Hoover, AL
Whether or not the visit was anything more than a fulfillment of a promise to his mother remains to be seen, but stellar wide receiver Chad Jackson did take an official visit to Alabama this weekend. He spent much of Saturday morning watching film of Coach Price's offense, but then drove back to Birmingham. Sources indicate Jackson went back because of a job and intended to return Saturday night. The Alabama coaches gave Jackson as much attention as they could, but heading into the weekend convincing Jackson to stay in-state was viewed as a long shot.

Freddy Saint Preux
DT, 6-5, 292, Dodge City Community College, Scooba, MS, Brooklyn, NY
Seen as a key potential member of Alabama's 2003 recruiting class, Saint Preux was sporting an Alabama jacket as he toured the campus Saturday. Saint Preux redshirted his first college season at Central Florida, which means he'll have three years of eligibility left. Several schools have been after the big defensive tackle, but Saint Preux told Saturday that his choice was down to Alabama and Texas A&M. "I like what I've seen," Saint Preux said. "I really like it here at Alabama." Saint Preux termed "crazy" the confusion the past two weeks over his eligibility, but laughed and said that was just part of the recruiting game. Saint Preux was hosted by Shaud Williams. Walk-on receiver Dennis DuBois, who knew St. Preux before he came to Alabama, also spent time with him Saturday.

Chris Capps
OL, 6-6, 260, 5.0, Landmark Christian HS, Fairburn, GA
Alabama would like to sign one more offensive lineman with this class, and Capps could be the man. Capps' mother grew up in Northport and is an Alabama fan. The previous staff did not offer him, and Capps committed to Oklahoma State. But now he says that if he likes what he sees this weekend he'll switch to the Tide.

Kenny Hollis
MLB, 6-1, 242, 4.5, East Mississippi CC, Minor HS, Birmingham, AL
One of the most impressive looking athletes to visit Alabama this year, Hollis is committed to LSU. But both his mother and father accompanied him on his trip to Tuscaloosa, and the Birmingham native says distance could well be a factor in his final decision. "It'll be a tough decision," Hollis said. "Alabama is closer to my home, and it would be easier for my mom and dad to see me play." A commitment from Hollis would more than make up for the loss of younger linebacking prospects.

Cliff Davis
QB, 6-5, 210, Eupora HS, Eupora, MS
Davis hopes to get a scholarship offer and play football and baseball for the Tide. He says his best pitch is a fastball, and claims to have hit as high as 94 mph on the radar gun. Publicly committed to Arkansas State, it's not clear whether or not Alabama will be able to offer him a scholarship.

Earnest Nance
OLB, 6-2, 210, Courtland HS, Courtland, AL
Tide fans are very familiar with Nance, since he was a member of last year's signing class as well. Rehabilitation from a knee injury prevented him from reporting last August, but he now plans to resign and be a part of the 2003 class. As if there was any doubt, Nance's wardrobe choice Saturday proved where his allegience lies.

Mario Lane
DE/TE, 6-5, 243, Carver HS, Montgomery, AL
Academic problems will probably force Lane to start off in junior college, but he's a good enough athlete to be worth the wait. Lane has the size and speed to play any of several positions, but he's said to favor defensive end. (Lane also said that, contrary to some reports, he is not committed to Alabama State.)

Brandon Roberson
Punter, 5-11, 180, Northeast Mississippi CC, Booneville, MS, Ripley HS, Ripley, MS
Scholarship offers are hard to come by for punters, but Roberson says that both Arkansas and Alabama have offered. "Things are going well so far," he told Saturday afternoon. "Neither Arkansas nor Alabama were my childhood favorite, so I'm considering them both. I hope to make my decision by next Wednesday." Roberson won the award for greatest hang time at a punting camp run by former NFL All-Pro Ray Guy. He says he's averaged more than 42 yards per punt every year since junior high school.

Terrence Jones
OLB, 6-0, 205, 4.6, Tuscaloosa County HS, Northport, AL
Jones took his official visit to Alabama two weeks ago, but he was on hand Saturday on an unofficial trip. Auburn Head Coach Tommy Tuberville has told Jones and his high school coaches that he (Jones) has been at the top of their linebacker list since last summer, but now some Auburn sources are claiming Jones will not be offered by the Tigers. Jones says he'll announce his decision Monday.

Two recruits, running back Tashard Choice (6-0, 200) and wide receiver Jonathan Russell (6-3, 190), were scheduled to visit Alabama this weekend but did not make the trip. Choice took a midweek official visit to Oklahoma and reportedly committed to the Sooners. On the other hand, Russell will apparently end up at Louisville.

Russell's high school coach, Willie Martin of Benjamin Russell HS in Alexander City, advised Russell yesterday not to make the trip to Tuscaloosa. Louisville (now coached by former Auburn offensive coordinator Bob Petrino) has offered Russell a scholarship, and Martin told the Tide's coaches that his player would not leave Alexander City unless he had a firm offer in hand in advance from Alabama. The Tide staff explained to Martin that they intended to offer Russell, but that they wanted a chance to meet with him personally first. Whether or not his head coach acted in the young man's best interests, Russell is Louisville bound.

Earlier in the week defensive ends Marquies Gunn (6-3, 205) and Mike Heard (6-3, 215) were scheduled to visit Alabama this weekend. But as reported Thursday, the two did not make the trip. Heard committed to Mississippi State, and sources close to Gunn say he has committed to Auburn.

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