Louisiana high school coach explains why Alabama isn’t welcomed on campus
If Alabama wants to add 5-star wide receiver Terrace Marshall and offer 4-star dual-threat quarterback Justin Rogers in the Class of 2018, the Crimson Tide won’t get any assistance from their high school coach.
Parkway (La.) High School coach David Feaster appeared on ESPN 104.5 in Baton Rouge Wednesday morning to explain why Alabama isn’t welcomed on campus.
It all stems from former LSU QB Brandon Harris, who attended Parkway before beginning his college career.
At the time, Doug Nussmeier was Alabama’s offensive coordinator and Billy Napier was the Tide’s wide receivers coach. The pair traveled to Parkway to scout Harris back in 2013. According to Feaster, Nussmeier and Napier watched Harris’ film and called the quarterback “phenomenal.” The assistants wanted to offer Harris, but no offer is truly legit unless Nick Saban himself wants that recruit.
It’s well known that if you receive an early offer from Alabama — and the majority of big-time college football programs — the team wants that recruit to attend one of its summer camps to see how the player performs in the drills they should excel at.
Brandon Harris was one of the top quarterbacks in the Class of 2014. At one point, he was rated as the nation’s No. 1 dual-threat QB, and he received one of these “camp offers” from Alabama. That didn’t sit well with his high school coach.
“I understand you offer these kids to go meet Nick Saban,” Feaster said. “That’s a big deal, and he may feel a different way. What I’m telling Brandon is you only have so much money and time to spend. Go to the schools that have you at the top of their board. Ohio State, Ole Miss and Texas A&M had him at No. 1…. LSU hadn’t come in yet. (Former LSU offensive coordinator) Cam (Cameron) didn’t come by. All of these other schools said we want you right now and we want you to lead our recruiting class and bring these great athletes out of Louisiana to come with you.”
Before Harris attended the summer camp in Tuscaloosa, he had a phone call with Saban where, according to the coach, Alabama did offer him. But, again, Saban didn’t get a chance to see Harris compete in camp.
In this past year’s recruiting cycle, both 5-star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and 4-star quarterback Mac Jones traveled to Tuscaloosa before committing. Harris, back in 2014, didn’t do that yet. Parkway’s coach said it wasn’t clear that attending camp was a necessity.
“(Napier) calls me the next day (after coming by the school) and says, ‘Coach, I have some good news for you. Tell Brandon to call me on this phone during this period and I’ll put Nick Saban on the phone,”’ Feaster recalls. “We do that and Saban says, ‘You have a scholarship at the University of Alabama.’ So, they gave him a scholarship offer. It was a committable offer.
By the time he gets to campus in June (for camp) — and I’m not saying Brandon was going to commit to Alabama — it wasn’t an option. Basically what they told him is that we got other guys that are going to come through here, and I promised them a shot. So we have to wait and see then.”
A few weeks after Harris visited Tuscaloosa, Alabama decided to accept a commitment from David Cornwell on June 14, 2013.
Fast forward four years later, and Feaster is still holding that camp offer against Alabama.
Parkway is home to 5-star wide receiver Terrace Marshall and 4-star dual-threat quarterback Justin Rogers. Marshall has visited Tuscaloosa several times on his own, while Rogers hasn’t received an offer from Alabama.
“All I’m saying is this, if you offer Justin Rogers today and he doesn’t commit — I understand that the offer may not be good a year from now — but if you offer him, you’re making a committable offer,” Feaster said. “If you make a committable offer, there needs to be a window where my guys can say I’ll take that offer and we’ll be done.
“That never happened with Brandon. All it was was them angling him to come to camp and competing against other guys.”
The issue here is not that Alabama isn’t allowed on campus, but that a coach is getting in the way from a university potentially finding other players on his roster who may be worthy of a scholarship offer.
In hindsight, both Cornwell and Harris didn’t have the most successful careers at Alabama and LSU, respectively, but Feaster, who admits he’s an LSU fan, won’t forget how Harris never received a committable offer.
“Maybe I’m playing too hard four years later, but I don’t want them (Alabama) on campus,” Feaster said. “I don’t want them making those offers to the rest of my guys. My guys know they can go to Alabama. Marshall has been there a couple of times. If he wants to go to Alabama, he can and I’m going to pull for him — no doubt. I’m just not going to help Alabama recruit my guys.”
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