2017 Timber Creek offensive tackle Alan Ali has been picking up serious offers from big-time programs like Iowa State, Nebraska, Arizona State, Virginia and others along with SMU. The rising senior took time to visit SMU junior day recently and it put SMU above all of the rest early in his process.
"I got to bring my dad along for this trip and it really opened his eyes. I don't think he realized how pretty the campus is until he got to see it. It's one of the most beautiful campuses in the country," Ali said. "It really put SMU high in my book. I can definitely see myself playing there and walking on the field, I could see it. It made a big impression on me. SMU is probably first, then Nebraska, Iowa State and Viriginia."
While Ali still has plenty of visits to take, he plans on deciding by end of the summer unless his gut is telling him to commit earlier. A few things stand out about SMU.
"I really liked it and enjoyed my time there. The coaches were welcoming and great as always. I really got a sense of the family atmosphere there," Ali said. "The coaching staff is definitely the first thing (that stands out). I really love the coachess. The campus, the students around it, and the business degree that can't get much better than that."
Ali toured the football facilities and stadium before touring the campus and dorms, which left him feeling like the program is on the rise.
"The weight room was really nice. They got all new weights this year and they're trying really hard to get top recruits in there with the work on the facilities," Ali said. "It was one of the top campuses in the country. You can't really get much better than that."
Offensive line coach Dustin Fry talked with Ali and what stood out to him was how excited they were that he made it.
"They're really excited about me and really want me to come there. They want to make me a better player and person to set me up for the rest of my life. I like that," Ali said.
Chad Morris talked with Ali as well and the family atmosphere he promotes stood out.
"He's an all-around great guy. You can tell he really cares about his players and the recruits. When he brings them in, he treats them like family and I really appreciated that."
SMU sees Ali at tackle due in large part to the way he can move.
"They like them tall and athletic. They don't want a big, chunky guy that can't move well. They want a big guy that can get out in space and move. I feel like I'm definitely what they're looking for."
Ali says that's a huge part of his game is his ability to move.
"I'm an athletic type of lineman that can pull out and get out in the screen game and block down the field. My pass blocking has always been good, but my run game has really come along and I've been able to finish off people," Ali said. "I need a more explosive first step off the ball and getting in better position on blocks."
Ali will visit Nebraska on March 12 and Iowa State on March 13. Ali plans on making it to SMU for, "a few practices at least" this spring.