Four SEC Powers for Five-Star Young

There is a reason the SEC has won the last six national championships in college football. It is the programs and the people that lead those programs that are in the living rooms and schools of the best players in high school and selling them on coming to these schools. Such is the case with five-star offensive lineman Avery Young who is being courted by teams that won five of those six titles.

The process has dies down a lot since Avery Young cut his list from the spring down to six teams and even more since, but early in the process it was tough on the 6-5, 270 pounder to deal with all the coaches from so many programs coming in to see him and his teammates. Palm Beach Gardens coach Chris Davis says that it was a good thing when Young decided to narrow down the schools chasing him.

"It gets tough," Davis told earlier in the week. "It is harder in the spring in terms of numbers. One of the things he did this fall is knock it down to six and with all due respect to everybody else, he didn't want to see anyone else unless it was one of those six. I had to be the bad guy, but in the spring we logged in 238 coaches came in during the spring. That was a zoo."

Coach Davis took the brunt of the time allotment, but says that Young's classroom work and grades never faltered because he is a good student.

"Avery is a great student and won't have issues with qualifying or anything like that," Davis said. "He handled it all pretty well. When all of this started if he had a teacher that was a Florida grad or an Auburn grad, I took the coach (from that school) by to see the teacher. It kind of let them have a little willingness to let him out of class a little. When you are at a school like ours and the size of ours, you can find everybody's soft spots with things like that."

That he is a good student makes him very attractive to the programs that are after him, but it is his athletic ability for his sioze that sets Young apart.

"Linemen are hard to find right now," Davis said. "There are not a lot of good tackles out there. I don't know if you have seen Avery play or not, but he is so athletic, he moves like a skill guy."

With the lack of linemen around this part of the country, it may be an impetus for Young to really envision a chance to play early and often at his collegiate destination.

"I think he's done a good job of checking the pros and cons and I think the biggest thing for Avery is getting on the field early and he wants to play left tackle," Davis said. "It's going to be wherever he thinks the school that gives him the best opportunity for that."

At the moment, four SEC programs seem to be in it for Young. He doesn't believe Young knows where his final destination will be yet.

"I think there are four schools Auburn, Florida, Georgia, and Alabama, I don't know what order," Davis said. "I don't think he knows. He has four great choices. If he isn't playing cards, he needs to because he would be a heck of a poker player. It almost seems like it changes every week."

A call on Tuesday and it seemed like the National Champion Crimson Tide were on the outside looking in.

"I know that Alabama has been relentless in the recruitment of him and they are first class all the way," Davis siaid Tuesday. "They have expressed interest in him and their offensive line coach is an outstanding coach and a great person and I have a lot of respect for Coach Stoutland. Avery said they were out, but still chasing."

By Wednesday morning things seemed to change a little when assistant Bobby Williams came to visit Young at school.

"I don't want to speak for him," Davis said about Young's thoughts on Bama. " I think they are still a player. I just don't think he knows who it is right now."

Davis talked about the Tide in terms of what Young may see in the program.

"Their tradition is incredible," he said. "They have an outstanding offensive line coach in Jeff Stoutland. They run a pro-style offense and have proven they can develop players. They played eight linemen in the national championship game. I think that bodes well for any player to get reps on his way to a starting role. The jobs that alumni have if they don't go to the NFL speak for themselves about the opportunities they have for their kids. They had 19 kids that have already gotten their degree. It is a heck of an institution."

Auburn has been at or near the top for Young's favorites throughout the process. The Tigers have a national title of their own in the last two years. Head coach Gene Chizik is due in on Thursday to see Young and Davis says they are driving it home about early playing time on The Plains.

"Auburn has sent different people at different times," Davis said. "At one point they sent the position coach or the coordinator. They sent them by themselves so that he can get some one-on-one time and it grows on them. They need linemen and that isn't a secret. They are very young and have some guys that can play and they are telling Avery he can play right away. I think he can go in there and compete right now."

The Georgia Bulldogs are on the scene as well and will be in to see Young on Thursday as well. They are telling Young he is one of very few missing pieces on the way to the top.

"Georgia is going to be a national title type contender next year, particularly seeing how the east plays out," Davis said. "Their team is incredible except for the offensive line and tight end where (Orson) Charles declared for the draft. It will be interesting to see whether they are able to convince him he is capable of playing with some of these studs they are signing in his class right now. I told Avery that all these schools are top five programs and he isn't going to walk right in and start. The competition is going to make you better."

The Florida Gators can claim two of the national titles in the last six years. Florida paid a visit to Young over the weekend sending new offensive coordinator Brent Pease, offensive line coach Frank Verducci, and Aubrey Hill who is the recruiter for Palm Beach.

"They had a great visit last weekend and I think everything is going well for him," Davis said of the visit over the weekend.

According to Davis, the Gators are in it in large part because of the guy that is recruiting Young to Florida. The former Lakeland Dreadnaught assistant had high praise for Florida's recruiting coordinator.

"Florida has done a great job," he said. "Aubrey Hill has to be one of the top five recruiters in the country. He is relentless. He works hard at what he does. He does a tremendous job at developing a report with the player and the coach and the family. I just think Aubrey is as good of a recruiter as there is in college football. He understands South Florida and these kinds of kids and communicates extremely well to all parties involved. I think Florida has a big plus there with him. For him to be their recruiting coordinator they need to keep him a long time. I have sent a lot of kids to Florida and Aubrey has done as good a job as anyone."

Davis also talked highly of Florida offensive line coach frank Verducci.

"He's a nice guy and a great recruiter," he said of Verducci. "He has great one-on-one interpersonal skills. I haven't met him a lot but he has been very hospitable. Avery and his father are very comfortable talking to him. I think that says a lot when you can come into south Florida after being in the NFL for a while and be in that role and communicate with kids like that. From a recruiting standpoint I think he does a great job."

One thing noticeable from his comments on Florida was the playing time aspect in regards to the Gators, since it is such an important part of what Young is supposedly looking for in a program. Florida has a drastic need along the offensive line and Davis said that the Gators are just not a team that tells him everything they talk about with the five-star lineman.

"They have established such a good relationship with Avery, I don't even talk to him about what they talk about," he said. "I am the bridge between the school and the player and it isn't my business what they talk about. Some of these other schools have, but I don't ask."

With that said, Davis intimated that the Gators made another good impression Wednesday when coaches visited.

"Aubrey Hill and Frank Verducci came and had a very positive visit with Avery," he said.

In the end it seems like Young can't go wrong. He has top programs sending top people to recruit him. Maybe the most important thing that keeps these programs in it is the respect they seem to show for each other.

"The number one thing is that all of these programs are top flight people," Davis said. "There hasn't been any mudslinging from anyone that I have seen. A lot of the horror stories you read about… every school that is in it has been first class and I can't explain highly enough of how they represent themselves within the conference. Their treatment is one reason they all have a shot with him."

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