Deyavie (pronounced D-ahh-vee) Hammond was offered by Alabama on May 17. His recruitment was never going to last much longer than that.
Hammond, a 2019 4-star offensive guard from Lakeland (Fla.) High School better known as ‘Fridge,’ was going to commit to Alabama this past Friday, but he couldn’t reach Tide offensive line coach Brent Key. He finally got a hold of him over the weekend. Hammond then spoke with Nick Saban on Monday night. He didn’t commit then. He surely hinted at it.
On Tuesday afternoon, Hammond announced his commitment to Alabama after his coach, Will Bahler, spoke with Tide wide receivers coach Mike Locksley, who is Hammond’s primary recruiter. Locksley had told Bahler that he had spoken with Saban about Hammond and he made it clear to him that they would be fired up to have him on board.
That’s all Fridge, who got that nickname his freshman year at Lakeland, needed to hear. He called Saban this afternoon to commit and then took to Twitter to announce his decision.
“It’s kind of cliche to say that it was his dream offer, but it was,” Lakeland coach Will Bahler told SEC Country. “He grew up an Alabama fan. For most of these kids, ever since they’ve been alive, Alabama has been relevant. None of these kids can remember a time where Alabama wasn’t relevant.”
It’s been a busy few days for Hammond. In the past week, not only did he pick up an offer from Alabama, but Auburn, Georgia, Mississippi State and Texas A&M also offered, too. But schools not named Alabama never had a chance to get Hammond’s commitment.
“He had always joked with me that if Alabama had ever offered him that that was where he was going to go,” Bahler said. “Once he got offered, he was done. I’m sure 95 percent of America would be like, ‘If Alabama offers me, I’m done.’ So, that’s what he decided to do.”
Bahler had told Hammond that just because he was offered, it didn’t necessarily mean that Alabama wanted him to commit right away. Lakeland High has churned out several prospects over the years, so Bahler has become all familiar with the recruiting process.
“I told him that it could go one of two ways between they are going to love you and be pumped up about your decision or they are going to slow play you and say we want to see you on campus first. It turned out that they wanted him.”
Since Hammond announced his commitment, Bahler has heard from at least one school asking why Hammond decided to announce his decision. Hammond’s former teammate, Class of 2017 wide receiver James Robinson, signed with Florida.
“With him being from Lakeland, Florida, it’s almost a birthright that he needs to go to Florida,” Bahler said.
Bahler said Alabama offensive line coach Brent Key is enamored with Hammond’s agileness for being 6-foot-4 and 320 pounds at 16 years old. If there’s one knock on Hammond’s game it’s that he has a tendency of not finishing every block all of the way through the play, but that’s an easy fix.
The nation’s No. 5 offensive guard will likely be an interior lineman in college, even though he plays tackle for Lakeland now. If Hammond grows to around 6-foot-6, then a move to tackle would be likely.
Bahler said Hammond has a lot of room to take his game to an even higher level than where he’s at now.
“He still has a lot of baby fat and still enjoys grandma’s cookies, but he’s so athletic for as big as he is,” Bahler said. “He’s still just a puppy, though. We don’t know how good he’s going to be just yet. A lot of things come naturally for him, though.”
Alabama now has three commitments in the Class of 2019, which is one more than the Tide’s Class of 2018. But it came as no surprise to see Hammond commit so early in his recruitment, according to his coach.
“Fridge, ever since he started getting offers, he was always ‘Bama,’Bama,’Bama,’Bama,’Bama,’Bama,” Bahler said. “If there was one offer that he wanted, it was Alabama.”