UA Game: Ross Pierschbacher

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Alabama offensive line class in the 2014 haul is one of the best in the Nick Saban era, and versatility is a big part of it. Ross Pierschbacher got a preview of the competition and skill he'll face at the next level while participating in the Under Armour All-America week.

Competition makes one better, and Ross Pierschbacher got a first-hand look at it over the past week in Central Florida.

The Iowan and four-star offensive line prospect learned a lot of himself over the Under Armour All-America practices and game on Thursday.

"It's been fun, just kind of sizing yourself up," he said. "It's an adjustment going from high school football in Iowa to this...just have to get better every day to prepare myself even more.

"Speed and quickness is the biggest difference, and then strength-wise these guys are for real. They can throw you around if they want."

Instead of smiling in the praise he received in slowing elite after elite, the Alabama commitment focuses on the reps he loses in order to prevent it going forward.

"Not what I'm doing good at, but what I need to work on," Pierschbacher said. "Strength is big…I've had some slow development, but I know (Alabama strength coach) Coach [Scott] Cochran will get me going a little bit.

"That's probably the biggest thing."

Cochran will be directing his time to 20-plus freshman in the summer, many of which competed in Orlando with the No. 2 offensive guard prospect in the country.

"It's awesome, catching up with them and seeing what they think," he said. "We talk about national champions. I bonded with [Joshua] Casher, We're all real close. Big Cam (Cameron Robinson), [David] Cornwell, J.C. [Hassenuer], a lot of offensive players.

"We're just real close as a group and real down to earth people."

Pierschbacher, who once was committed to in-state Iowa, plans on playing with those prospects at the next level. He'll visit Tuscaloosa officially on January 17, and that will wrap up his recruitment.

"I'm not taking any other visits, I'm locked in," he said. "I think Coach [Nick] Saban signing his extension was the last little thing I needed to hear.

"He was real good about it and up front. He told me about it Day 1 in his office, that he's staying. Other programs try to get a recruiting edge saying he's leaving, but we knew all along."

Going forward, it remains about progress for Pierschbacher.

"Just work on my game all around and enjoy the last little bit of high school," he said. "Then it's about the next chapter of my life.

"Roll Tide."

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