Ledbetter visits Los Angeles

Tucker (Ga.) defensive end Jonathan Ledbetter unofficially visited USC and Cal with fellow Peach State recruit Russell Ude in late June.

Tucker (Ga.) defensive end Jonathan Ledbetter committed to Alabama last January, but since then, he has unofficially visited multiple schools.

Coming away from visits to Auburn and Georgia, Ledbetter decided to take a long awaited trip to the West Coast to see USC.

“It was nice,” said Ledbetter. “It took a while to get out there. I planned it a while ago.

“Things didn’t really work out the way I wanted them to, but I ended up going out there the June 26 and stayed until the July 1 — just in California period. The USC campus is beautiful. The coaches… great coaching staff.

“I got to see some of the (current players) workout. I did a little bit of the camp, but I didn’t do too much. I just kind of hung out, saw the campus, went on tours and stuff. I saw the stadium, the locker room and I think they had a soccer game or something going on, so they had some stuff to see.

“It was nice. Overall it’s just a beautiful campus and a beautiful school. So I really enjoyed the visit.”

Ledbetter has never been to California before, let alone Los Angeles. The trip gave him a lot to think about when it comes to the plethora of college options he has earned.

That was the first time I’ve ever been out there and it’s a brand new world,” said Ledbetter. “I enjoyed it. It was a new experience.

“It was really an eye opener away from the South. Something new. I really enjoyed it. It was nice. I didn’t want to leave.”

Ledbetter’s main reason for visiting California was to see new USC defensive line coach, Chris Wilson.

Wilson was the final hire to Steve Sarkisian’s staff last January, and with stints at Georgia and Mississippi State, the veteran defensive line coach is making good use of his connections in the South.

“Coach Wilson was at Georgia and he recruited me hard when he was there,” said Ledbetter. “That’s how I got my first offer. As soon as they offered me, he told me, ‘You got the Georgia offer, but I just want to let you know that I’m probably going to SC so make sure you come check us out too.’

“He’s a good coach with a lot of knowledge. Tremendous coach, really. So we kept in contact and he told me to come out there in visit, so I had to plan a trip. I actually got to go out there. I didn’t think I would be able to.”

While USC is just one of several schools Ledbetter has visited in the past three months, his verbal commitment to Alabama remains strong.

“I’m still flowing with the Tide,” laughed Ledbetter. “Everybody asks me (about Alabama). I’m just seeing schools and really just enjoying the process as a whole.

“I haven’t really made any decisions and I haven’t changed anything. There’s been a lot of controversy and stuff like that. People are like ‘he’s going here, he’s going there,’ but at the end of the day, if I decide to even change my mind, then I’ll do that, but it’s not changed at all.”

Although USC is far away from Georgia, and culturally different than the South, Ledbetter is keeping an open mind about returning out west before signing day 2015.

“I was actually thinking about taking an official,” said Ledbetter. “I haven’t really decided yet.

“I want to sit down and write down a bunch of schools, pick a couple from an education standpoint and also from a football standpoint and just see where I need to take my officials and when I can fit them in. The West Coast is far. I’d have to plan a good date for that.”

Distance would be an assumed factor in USC, Cal or any other West Coast school having a chance to woo Ledbetter from the Southeast and Alabama. Ledbetter’s mother has a counterpoint to that assumption.

“My mom told me something to me recently,” said Ledbetter. “She said, ‘It doesn’t matter where you go. It doesn’t matter if you’re five minutes away from where your home is.

“Something could happen and you could still be too far away.’ It doesn’t matter how far I am as long as I keep in contact with everybody. I just want to be somewhere where I can be comfortable.

“It’s far away, so I want to be comfortable there. Basically like a second home. I want to make sure it’s the right place and I can spend four years or three years there in a comfortable environment where I can flourish and learn a lot of good things.”

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