Ali Gaye had 76 tackles, 21 quarterback hurries and eight sacks this season for Edmonds-Woodway HS.
"It was a bad season for the team," Gaye said about the 6-4 season. "I was just really disappointed we didn't make a run for the state title. Every senior wants to go out on top. I was no different. It hurts, but that is a part of football. Personally, I played alright. I guess I had a good season. I put up some decent stats. It just seemed like every time I hit the quarterback he just released the ball. I was a fraction off on so many plays. I just have to continue to push myself and get bigger and stronger so that doesn't happen next fall."
Some teams like the 6-foot-6, 270-pounder at strong side defensive end while others envision him at defensive tackle. It really doesn't matter to Ali.
"I'm physical. I can play either one. I get off of the ball fast. That can help me at either spot. I like to use my hands. They say I have violent hands, really strong hands. I can use my swim move or bull rush you. That allows me to get around the lineman so fast."
Teams from all over the country have tried to get in the game for Scout's No.65 rated defensive end. It looks like three are ahead of the pack.
"I've set up visits to Arizona State (1/14), Louisville (1/21) and Ole Miss (1/28) the last weekend. There are some other schools talking to me about coming in, but those are the three main ones right there."
Ole Miss offered the 6-foot-6, 270-pound lineman after his junior season.
"That is when things really heated up with me with Ole Miss. Coach (Chris) Kiffin told me that he needed some defensive linemen to come in and play as freshmen. He said he was hurting with their defensive line. He told me that he needed me to come in as a freshman and make a difference for their line. That's when I really started paying attention to Ole Miss. I started watching some of their games. I watched them when they played Alabama and LSU. Coach Kiffin would call me after their games and say, 'see, I told you we need you to come in and play for us next year.' I knew he was blowing smoke up me then. That's when it all started, really."
The Ole Miss defensive line coach, Chris Kiffin, left to become the defensive coordinator at FAU with his brother, Lane Kiffin. The Rebels replaced him with North Carolina's defensive line coach, Tray Scott. The relationship with the new defensive line coach has already started.
"I've been talking to him on the phone this past week. He introduced himself and told me that he really wanted me to come play for him. He was excited about my visit and told me that he couldn't wait to get me on their campus. Coach Scott is a really nice guy. I like what he was doing over there at North Carolina. I'm excited to get to meet him."
The knowledge of Ole Miss is limited since he's never visited the campus but he likes what he knows so far.
"I know they are a championship caliber program. They had an off year this season but they have been going to BCS bowls. They are sending players to the NFL. I just like their style. I like them too because they play in the SEC. It's a unique league with a lot of good athletes. It's an exciting league to play in. You go against the best every week. Ole Miss has a lot to offer. I'm just ready to see it for myself on my visit. I want to see how the staff is and the player relationships. I want to check out the campus and see if I fit in not only for football but just as an every day student."
Arizona State has built a close relationship with Gaye as well.
"Their defensive line coach, Joe (Seumalo), is a loyal guy. I really like what he is telling me. He wants me to work hard. Coach Joe said if I work hard I'll come in and start right away. He's just a loyal person. I've been in contact with coach Joe a long time. There is now bs with coach Joe. He shoots it to you straight."
Louisville has also jumped into the picture due to his relationship with their recruiter.
"They have been in the picture since the start of my senior season. It is the same way with them. They are telling me all of the things I need to do to come in there and play next year. They have a really young defensive line. They want me to come in and play right away."
How big of a factor is playing time?
"Iy could be a factor for me to play next year, but if I don't I'll just use that year to get bigger and stronger. I'm really just looking at my football career. Which staff can I trust the most? That's the most important thing to me."
Yancy Porter is the recruiting analyst for the Ole Miss Spirit and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org