There are many different stories involving recruiting ever year. There are those we expect to get, those we are shocked to get, and those we miss. Many different players in football and basketball have left the friendly city limits of Tuscaloosa to go play for a different school.
One such missed opportunity was Markus Manson, a Running Back who graduated from Hillcrest High School in Tuscaloosa in 2004. Manson ended up picking the Florida Gators over the Alabama Crimson Tide. Manson became a hot commodity in Alabama after rushing for 1900 yards and 20 TDs his Junior year of high school. Has he panned out for the Gators? Well, it appears the answer is pretty much a “no”. He’s still got a solid chance to play, but only as a Cornerback.
Next, there is D.J. White, now of Indiana Hoosier fame. He too graduated from Hillcrest High in 2004, deciding to play basketball for Mike Davis instead of Mark Gottfried of Alabama. White has blossomed into a very impressive player. He even started 5 times during the Pan-Am Games for Team USA. BTW, guess who was an assistant coach? Mark Gottfried of course. I wonder what they thought of each other after this event.
Chris Smelley was a highly touted QB from ACA in Tuscaloosa. In his high school career, Smelley set Alabama High School Athletic Association records for yards in a single game (585), and season (4,120). He also set AHSAA records for touchdown passes in a season (59),and for a career (134). Smelley’s early favorite was Alabama, but he ended up signing with Steve Spurrier and South Carolina. Smelley may just be the visor’s QB of the future to get a true Spurrier offense in Columbia.
Titus Brown was not as highly touted player out of high school. Another 2004 grad of Hillcrest, Brown decided to play for Sylvester Croom and Mississippi State. He was a Linebacker in high school, but has excelled into an All-SEC spot as a DE. The Tuscaloosa News even wrote a story about him recently.
So what is the point of this post? You shouldn’t let yourself get too high or too low when it comes to recruiting. It is a game of chance to a certain degree. I know we all feel good about how great Coach Saban and staff have been doing on the recruiting trail; however, nothing is close to finalization with a few of these players. Remembering these examples of how local talent can go elsewhere helps me keep my feet on the ground when it comes to the highs of college recruiting. Strange things can happen in this crazy world.