Auburn, Ala.--As a veteran and one of the state's most highly recruited prospects for next season, Auburn High safety Dee Finley is living the good life this spring. Part of the reason for that is that he's back on the football field taking part in spring drills. He says that everything going on for him right now has made this spring one to remember.
"It's so much fun," Finley tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "Being the veteran makes you play your best because you can't let the underclassmen see you doing bad. I love having all the schools around. It makes me bring my A game every day. It's fun."
With an offer coming most recently from the Miami Hurricanes to make number 14, Finley says this spring has been a revolving door of top coaches from across the country stopping by Auburn High to see him in action on film and in spring practice. While it may seem like a burden to some, Finley says it is a dream to have this much attention heading into his senior year.
"Clemson came by Friday," Finley says. "Nick Saban came by last week sometime. Coach (Will) Muschamp came by last week. LSU is coming by tomorrow (Wednesday) and Urban Meyer came by last week as well. It's an honor to have them come see me. I never thought it would get this hectic. I didn't think I would ever see any of them. It's pretty fun though."
Dee Finley gets physical in a tackling drill at a recent spring practice.
Currently 6-3, 205, Finley is ranked as a four-star prospect by Scout.com but could become a five-star player when the next rankings come out because of his blend of size, speed, and football savvy on the field. Those intangibles have made him a high priority for schools such as Auburn, Florida, LSU, Clemson, Alabama, Oklahoma and others. Finley says because he's got so many schools interested, it's important for him to take his time and make the right choice.
"It makes it even tougher with so many schools involved," Finley says. "You just have to make sure you go to the right place because all these schools are top schools."
Already with good enough speed to return several kickoffs for touchdowns as a junior, Finley says that a winter of working out and running to become a more physical player has him in top form this spring. "I feel like my speed is better," Finley says. "I feel like I can cover much better man-to-man than I did last year. I think my tackling has been pretty solid, better this year. I think I have become more athletic. I really hit the weight room this off season and that helped."
Because of his ability and with standout receiver Ralph Spry gone from last year's team, Finley will get a chance to have the ball in his hands more as a senior by playing some wide receiver in addition to his duties at safety and as a kick returner. That's something he relishes already now that he's gotten a taste of it in the spring.
"I have been working at receiver all week and most of last week," Finley says. "I have been catching a few passes this spring. I just like playing and competing. When you hit somebody on one side and come back and shake them on a punt return, that's pretty fun."
Auburn High's spring practices wrap up on May 19 when the Tigers travel to Wetumpka for their spring game. Once that is done, Finley says he'll turn his full attention to the recruiting process and begin checking out schools both at camps and on some unofficial visits.
"I haven't set anything up for sure," Finley says. "I'm going to try to hit the local camps like at Auburn and Georgia Tech that our team goes to, the passing camps. I'm mostly going to do some visits and look at campuses so I can narrow down these schools."
While Finley may try to narrow down his list of schools, something tells me his list will only grow as schools become more familiar with the physical safety.