July 19, 2010

Tide Camp Rolls On: Day Two

Alabama's final summer camp session attracted some of the nation's best senior and junior talent and the first two days of camp have seen plenty of interesting developments and impressive performances.

UA co-leaders for Crowell

Columbus (GA) running back Isaiah Crowell has been among the most highly sought-after running backs in the nation so far for the class of 2011, picking up scholarship offers from around the country. Over the last five days, the four-star back had the opportunity to visit three different schools and came away from the weekend with a pair of co-leaders.

"I went to UGA Thursday night through Friday and then was at Southern Mississippi Saturday through Sunday evening before I got to Alabama," Crowell said. "I weighed in at 217 pounds at Southern Miss and ran a 4.32 40. When I got to Alabama, I pretty much started hanging out with the same guys I always do there, Trent Richardson and Dre Kirkpatrick. That was the best part about the trip was just hanging out with the players and building more of a relationship with them."

"On Sunday I mainly talked with Coach Smart and Monday before I left I spoke with Coach Saban for a long time.  We talked about life stuff and about taking responsibility for your actions.  It wasn't too much about football."

Crowell, rated the nation's No. 4 running back prospect, gave the visit to Tuscaloosa a slight edge due to his familiarity with some of the Tide players.

"Out of my three trips this weekend, I had the most fun at Alabama because I got to hang out with the guys I have built up a really good friendship with.  Right now, my top two are Alabama and Georgia and they are tied.  There is no one really after that although there should be, but just no one else stands out.  I am done with visits until after the summer and will take all of my officials after the season.  Right now I plan on visiting Alabama, Georgia, Miami, Clemson and one more school if someone really comes on between now and then."

Crowell brings along 2012 teammate

Traveling to Tuscaloosa with Crowell was his class of 2012 teammate and emerging star cornerback Deion Bonner. The young defensive back already holds offers from Clemson, Florida State, Georgia and South Carolina and put on an impressive showing at the Southern Miss camp over the weekend.

"At the Southern Miss camp I ran a 4.5 40-yard dash and measured 6-foot-1, 182 pounds," Bonner said. "When we got to Alabama, I hung out with DeQuan Menzie for awhile and then we hooked up with Trent and Isaiah.  We just hung out at the player's lounge for the most part.  I liked the coaching staff and meeting the players the best about the trip and was also impressed with what I heard about their academic programs."

Like his older teammate, Bonner has the Crimson Tide and Bulldogs on top early but said there is still plenty of time in his recruiting process.

"Coach Saban and Coach Smart told me they are really hurting for cover corners right now and there is a chance I could come in and make an early impact.  Right now my top schools are Alabama, Georgia, FSU and Clemson with Alabama and Georgia tied for the top."

Pensacola CB picks up offer

The Tide continues its quest for quality defensive backs and lots of them most recently extending an offer to Pensacola (FL) Pine Forest cornerback Louchiez Purifoy. The under-the-radar star currently holds offers from the Tide, Auburn and Florida and has seen his stock continue to skyrocket as more and more programs become aware of his abilities.

"Right after camp was over, Coach Saban told me that he had a scholarship for me and I had a spot whenever I wanted it," Purifoy said. "He said he likes to have big athletes with great feet at cornerback, and that I fit what he was looking for.  It has been a real wild few days with Auburn and Alabama offering me.  They are both great programs."

The 6-foot-, 170-pound speedy defender said he was happy with his performance at the camp and focused primarily on grasping the mental aspect of Nick Saban's defense.

"Coach Saban was working with other players, but I could tell he was looking at me a lot and watching what I was doing.  I basically learned the Alabama defense the last two days.  I understand what their cornerbacks do with their feet and I understand their placement and their strategy behind what they do really well."

For now, Purifoy says the in-state Gators still hold an advantage but both the Tide and TIgers are gaining ground.

"Florida is still my favorite, but Alabama and Auburn really made a good impression.  DJ Pettway and Trent Richardson were in my ear both days about joining them and it would be nice to keep the Pensacola pipeline going for sure.  If I don't make a decision in the next few weeks, I will wait until after the season.  I don't want to fool with it during the season."

2012 QB blown away by visit

The Crimson Tide are likely to be in the market for a quarterback in the class of 2012 and Edgewood (KY) star Zeke Pike has made a name for himself as one of the top young quarterback prospects in the Southeast. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound signal caller had a chance to visit both Auburn and Alabama this weekend and came away with plenty of good things to say about the Tide.

"I visited Auburn and Alabama over the weekend and was real impressed with both schools.  I really got a first-hand look at how impressive SEC football really is.  The stadium at Alabama just blew me away thinking about playing in front of over 100,000 fans.  It just gives you chills thinking about it."

"The camp went really well too.  I thought I threw the ball well and caught Coach McElwain's attention.  He is the one who got it all started with me visiting Sunday.  After I worked out, Coach Saban told me he thought I had a chance to be a special football player and that I would have a scholarship waiting for me on September 1.  He told me that they try and do things the right way at Alabama, and because the senior class they just had understood that philosophy, they got to leave Alabama with a ring.  I am planning to come back for the Alabama-Florida game and I can't wait."

As a sophomore, Pike threw for 1,634 yards and 17 touchdowns at Dixie Heights High School.

UA co-leaders for Crowell

Tide commit D.J. Pettway was on hand at the event both to get a chance to catch up with the Tide coaches again and to try and convince some of the other top prospects at the camp to join him in Tuscaloosa.

"I got to Tuscaloosa on Sunday around noon," Pettway said. "I got a chance to talk with the coaches and then went out and got to work. It was really a lot of fun working with the Alabama coaches because it gave me a chance to see what things will be like for me in the future. I'm already learning stuff I'll need to know when I get there."

"I talked to a few of the other recruits, especially Justin Shanks, and I told them all they needed to get on board with me and start working towards our own championship."

"Today before I left, I got a chance to speak with Coach Saban. He told me he was really excited about my natural ability and feels like I can play almost anywhere on the defensive line, even on the inside if I put on some weight. It's really exciting to hear Coach Saban talk about me as a part of his program and I can't wait to get back to Tuscaloosa and visit again."

Pettway said he plans on visiting the Tide for several games this fall, including for an official visit, and does not currently plan on taking any official visits elsewhere.

Shanks excited about UA offer

Prattville defensive tackle Justin Shanks came into the Tide camp looking to impress Nick Saban and the Tide coaches in the hopes of earning an offer from the program he's grown up cheering for. Shanks quickly received good news on that front.

"After I ran a few drills in front of the coaches, I was feeling really good. I was getting a lot of good feedback and Coach Saban even came over and made a few comments about how well I had done. Later in the day Coach Smart let me know that Alabama will be giving me an offer this week. I'm really excited about it and I feel really honored to get that offer."

"I'm not really sure when I want to make my final decision. It probably won't be until after the season starts and it may even be after the season depending on how things go. I am really happy with the way things have gone so far and hopefully I can keep working hard and continue to noticed by a few more schools. I'm happy with the offers that I have but it's always good to have more options."

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