"He's a very versatile athlete."

Denzel Devall, four-star middle linebacker from Bastrop, La., talked 'Why Alabama', and much more. Two Bastrop coaches share in-depth of their star athlete leaving the state.

Denzel Devall
Scout.com Rating: Four-star
Scout.com Rank: No. 8 Middle Linebacker
Size: 6-foot-2.5, 245-pounds
High School: Bastrop, La.
Projected Position: Inside Linebacker

Stats: Devall moved from defensive end to inside linebacker during his senior season. He recorded 100 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions, and two fumble recoveries for touchdowns. He finished his junior season with 108 tackles, five sacks, three fumbles caused, two fumbles recovered and one interception.

Commit Date: 12/07/2011
Recruiting Competition: LSU, Texas A&M

Strengths/Improvements: "My weakness was my inside linebacker skills last year. I did a poor job of reading guards. I have gotten tremendously better. I have also been working on my coverage skills, and my footwork.

"This summer I worked with a trainer. He improved my speed, and helped me with footwork drills. He also helped me with my linebacker skills. I am a great pass-rusher; so I can get to the quarterback. For me, I don't really look at a team's record. I just look at whether I can play or not as a true freshman; because I know I can do it."

Why Alabama: "I knew I wanted to go to Bama, but didn't want to pull the trigger until after the season," Devall told Scout.com. "Coach Saban came to the house and broke bread. I committed, and he was very happy. He couldn't stop smiling.

"Coach Saban said he would make me into a great person and a great player, and he'll be there for me. He refreshed some things that we had already talked about; what Alabama has to offer and where I'd fit into their system. Out of all the linebackers they have committed, he said I'm the most mature - with a chance to come in and play early."

Coach Quotes: "I have only been his head coach for a year," said head coach Thomas Bachman. "I was on the offensive side of the ball before that, so I've only been with Denzel two years, but he's an extremely charming kid, smiling, intelligent.

"There is tons of potential there for him to go chase his dreams. He has the talent and the charisma and all the things that it takes to be successful in life beyond the football field. It just comes down to how he decides to use those talents over the next few years.

"I think they are going to stand him up and play him at 'backer. I don't know that they are going to play him inside with passing situations and third down situations it wouldn't surprise me to see his hand in the dirt and rushing the passer. He's a versatile athlete, he can put his hand down and he can stand up. His versatility will give them some options.

"I think he likes the atmosphere around Alabama when he visited. The atmosphere that they've created, and I think he said that Coach Saban reminds him of Coach (Brad) Bradshaw who was the previous head coach here and built the Bastrop program up to where it was and signed all those kids. Very demanding, very hard, those are some of the things I've heard Denzel mention as to why he chose Alabama.

"Coach Saban is a tremendous motivator and a great recruiter. Coach Groh did a great job recruiting Denzel. There will be some that will be upset [about signing with Alabama], but Denzel can't focus on those things.

"He and his family did what they thought was right for Denzel. That's all that matters at the end of the day. All that other stuff, people will either get over it or they won't, but he seems firmly committed, and he's excited. We're excited for him."

"I think he has progressed leaps and bounds from his freshman year to his senior year," Bastrop defensive line coach Maurice Doaty told Scout.com. "The tackles he was making as a senior he would not make them when he was a sophomore. He is a heck of a player, but still learning to play the game. A lot of players have his attributes, but don't understand football. He gets it."

"I think him being able to think under pressure and knowing the ins-and-outs of the game are his biggest strengths. You can plug him into any linebacker position, defensive end or the three technique. He is very versatile. I think he can play immediately at any school in the right situation.

"He needs to get stronger. He is a hard worker, but hasn't had the opportunity to spend a lot of time in the weight room. I think he has good pass rush moves and is a good tackler. He can be more explosive.

"He is a great kid off the field. He was raised the way you are supposed to be raised. He is a 'yes sir, no sir' type of guy. His grades are good. He is just a good overall kid."

Andrew Bone says: "Alabama head coach Nick Saban believes Devall is a player who has the physical attributes to play right away in Tuscaloosa. He is a physical tackler and does a great job filling the gap. He plays with a mean streak and is a smart football player. Devall will have an opportunity to see the field early in his career once he spends more time in the weight room and learns the defense."

Rebecca Johnston contributed to this report.

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