STEPHENSON, Ga. — Alabama defensive end commit Aaron Sterling was shocked when he heard the news.
The man who was supposed to be his position coach at the next level, Bo Davis, had resigned amid alleged recruiting violations.
The 6-foot-3, 250-pounder hasn’t talked to Karl Dunbar, the new Crimson Tide defensive line coach, but Sterling believes Alabama is in good hands.
“It’s a new chapter for Alabama moving Dunbar from the NFL to college,” Sterling told SEC Country. “He should bring a huge impact because he was at the highest level.
“I know he can prepare me for the NFL.”
Despite the coaching change, Sterling’s commitment to Alabama is strong, he said. He stays in regular contact with outside linebackers coach Tosh Lupoi and defensive backs coach Derrick Ansley, and both have reassured him that he’s still a priority to the team.
The three-star prospect admitted that when SEC Country visited Stephenson High School several months ago, his commitment to Alabama was not as strong as it is now.
“I have been thinking about my commitment a lot more now and talking to my mom a lot,” Sterling said. “She really wants me to make sure I’m weighing all my options because once you sign that paper, it’s over with. She wants to make sure I make the right choice, and she thinks I am.”
Even though Sterling is strongly committed at this point, he said Georgia and Tennessee are still pursuing him. Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart and defensive line coach Tracy Rocker are not only recruiting him, but also contacting his mother frequently, too.
Sterling said if he had a top three at this point, Georgia and Tennessee would be in that group along with Alabama.
How Dunbar connects with Sterling may be key in whether the Crimson Tide can hold onto Sterling’s commitment through signing day.
“I don’t know what Georgia or Tennessee can do to flip me,” Sterling said. “Alabama is Alabama. It’s great there. The relationship I have with the coach who’s going to be coaching me for the next three to four years is going to be important to me at all of these schools. Whichever relationship is stronger is going to be key for me.”
Sterling is planning on visiting Alabama this summer for one of its camps, and hopes to meet with Dunbar then.
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.