Alex Leatherwood took all five of his official visits to make sure Alabama was the school he wanted to attend. After finishing his final official visit to Florida over the weekend, he knows that answer.
Leatherwood, a 5-star offensive tackle from Booker T. Washington High School (Pensacola, Fla.), told SEC Country that he no longer sees himself at any other school than the one he’s been committed to since June 2015.
“To be honest, I don’t,” Leatherwood said. “It’s been a long and very enjoyable process, but I’m comfortable with my commitment and I’m ready to start the process.”
The nation’s No. 2 offensive tackle has caused lots of worry for Alabama fans over the past several months because of his visits to other schools and his comments to reporters about the status of his commitment. He told SEC Country recently after one of his visits to Florida that he was “iffy” with his commitment to Alabama, but that’s no longer the case after spending two days in Gainesville.
In fact, he’s ready to sign his financial aid agreement with Alabama. It’s the only school he’s planning on signing one with.
“Yeah, I did feel iffy before, but now I feel vey confident with my commitment,” Leatherwood said. “I actually plan on signing my financial aid papers with Alabama soon. I just needed time to think over everything and evaluate things to the fullest.”
Those documents are non-binding. They protect the recruit by ensuring the school holds a scholarship for them, but the prospect is still free to choose any school. The benefit for the programs is that it allows for unlimited contact between the football staff and the recruit, even once the dead period went into effect at midnight Sunday night.
Florida’s staff pitched to Leatherwood the idea of early playing time and told him how he can be an anchor for the Gators’ success in the future. It’s the same message he’s heard from other schools trying to flip him from his commitment to Alabama, but, he admitted, it’s not the message he was looking to hear from other schools.
Alabama likely will have an opening on its offensive line next year at left tackle because Cam Robinson is projected to be a first-round draft pick and he’ll likely declare for the NFL draft after the season. So, just like other schools’ pitch to him, Alabama can tell Leatherwood the same message. The correct message he was looking to hear was how other schools could help develop him better than offensive line coach Mario Cristobal.
“I already know Alabama’s situation with their depth at tackle, so I know I can go there and play early, too,” Leatherwood said.
The Under Armour All-American has been instrumental at helping Alabama recruit behind the scenes. In fact, Leatherwood played a role in Alabama signing the nation’s No. 1 junior college tackle in Elliot Baker and top 10 offensive tackle Jedrick Wills. Recruits who help recruit other prospects at the same position he plays tend to rarely back off their commitment.
He was never going to deviate from his plans to attend the University of Alabama. His recruitment has been a classic case of a highly-rated prospect enjoying each and every visit he could possibly take.
The 6-foot-6, 330-pounder will enroll at Alabama this January.
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