BRADENTON, Fla. — Shaun Wade’s recent visit to Alabama was cut short because of a family emergency, and the trip was also much different than others to Tuscaloosa in another way.
Wade, a 5-star Ohio State cornerback commit from Trinity Christian Academy (Jacksonville, Fla.), spent valuable time with Crimson Tide sophomore cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick starred as a freshman for Alabama, which is what Wade would like to do at the school he attends.
There are three schools Wade is strongly considering right now: Ohio State, Alabama and Florida. The Gators, he admits, offer him the best chance at early playing time with cornerbacks Jalen Tabor and Quincy Wilson likely leaving after this season to declare for the NFL draft.
But Fitzpatrick told Wade that he should not worry about depth charts with any of the schools he’s considering.
“I talked to Minkah for a long, long time,” Wade told SEC Country at the IMG 7-on-7 national championships. “He said (247Sports) projected that he wouldn’t play until his junior year. He kept that in his mind and went out there and competed for a starting spot.
“(The depth chart) doesn’t affect Alabama’s chances, because at any place you have to compete no matter what. Even if a school promises that I’ll play immediately, I am still going to have to compete. I know that for sure. Competition doesn’t phase me.”
Wade said he connected well with Fitzpatrick, who was also a 5-star recruit out of high school. Fitzpatrick took Wade through his recruitment process and why he ultimately chose the Crimson Tide. He also let him in on a secret.
“He told me he was about to leave Alabama at one point,” Wade said of Fitzpatrick. “He told me that Alabama has been the best choice for him.”
Wade’s connection with Fitzpatrick isn’t going to be enough for Alabama to flip him away from Ohio State, though. His parents need to be comfortable at the school he attends, and right now, he only knows they’re comfortable at Ohio State.
On a personal level, he admits that there aren’t many differences between Alabama and Ohio State.
“To be honest, they’re both the same schools to me,” Wade said. “Both of the schools have great coaches; they win championships and put their players in a spot where they can get to the NFL. I really don’t see a difference between the schools. The only difference I see is the campus and that’s not a big deal to me.”
Both Nick Saban and Urban Meyer sat down with Wade on his last visit to both schools. His conversation with both coaches solidified that those two schools would be good choices for him.
“Urban Meyer sat me down and told me if football doesn’t work out, he’s going to get me a great job,” Wade said. “That’s all I needed to hear. That’s big in my process. They have a mom program there. They call parents all the time to check in with them. Urban is just a good guy. My parents loved it.
“With Alabama, Nick Saban is huge on academics. I noticed that when I took this past trip to Alabama. My mom really liked it. If she’s not comfortable, I probably won’t go to that place.”
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
Chris Kirschner covers Alabama football recruiting for SECCountry.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play in Bryant-Denny.