Just days before National Signing Day, Riley Cole’s plans of attending the University of Alabama changed. Cole said the team allegedly asked him to grayshirt; he declined and de-committed.
His father, David, provided more details to JOX FM’s “Opening Drive,” and by the looks of it, this situation won’t be blamed on Nick Saban.
“The respect I have for Coach Saban and his family, I can’t describe enough about it,” David Cole said on JOX, via AL.com. “I really don’t think he knew about what was trying to be presented to us.”
A grayshirt is essentially a pause button to joining the team. Grayshirts cannot receive an athletic scholarship, enroll as a full-time student and can’t workout with the football team until the second semester. When teams ask recruits to grayshirt it means they are running low on scholarships. Also, if Cole would have accepted the grayshirt, his scholarship would have counted against the class of 2017.
Cole was one of Alabama’s longest-tenured commits before backing off his pledge Sunday. But one of the main reasons he decided to reopen his recruitment was communication between him and the Alabama staff was infrequent.
“Communication was the biggest problem and when Riley asked them to give an answer, they wouldn’t give him a straight answer,” David Cole said. “We got the impression they were wanting to wait until after National Signing Day, see who they got, and then let Riley know if they wanted to grayshirt him.
“Finally, Riley was like, you know what, it’s best for me to walk away, step back a little bit and see what other opportunities I have.”
Thankfully for Cole, he’ll have other college options. He picked up an offer from Oklahoma late Sunday night. It still remains to be seen which school he’ll choose.
With the loss of Cole, Alabama is down to 16 commits. The Crimson Tide are targeting five-star linebackers Ben Davis, Mack Wilson and Mique Juarez.