Shaun Wade, a five-star Ohio State cornerback commit, says Alabama is currently his No. 2 school and Florida is in the three spot.
Along with Alabama and Florida, Wade named Southern Cal, Stanford and Notre Dame as the biggest threats to his commitment to the Buckeyes.
Why is Alabama a threat? For one, the nation’s No. 3 cornerback is originally from Montgomery, Ala. Most of his mother’s side of the family still lives in Alabama, and that’s a big factor for why he’s high on the Crimson Tide.
“I have a great interest level in Alabama right now,” Wade said. “I get along with all of the coaches and that’s where I’m from. I grew up there and was raised there.”
He expanded on why he thinks Alabama is currently his No. 2 school.
“It’s close to home. They’re talking really well to me,” Wade told SEC Country. “Those are the two main reasons right now. They would develop me as a player and could help me play any DB position — safety or corner. I could come in and play whatever. They aren’t just going to develop me as a one-side corner.”
The other three programs chasing Wade do have a clear advantage over the Crimson Tide — early playing time. Wade believes he could see the field sooner at Florida, USC, Stanford and Notre Dame than Alabama.
Alabama has two young cornerbacks on its roster in sophomores Minkah Fitzpatrick and Marlon Humphrey — both former five-star signees. The pair shined last year as freshmen and are the clear starters for this year’s squad.
However, that alone would not prevent the Tide from potentially flipping the elite Buckeyes pledge.
“I think I would be in the rotation if I went to Alabama,” Wade said. “It doesn’t hurt anyone’s chances if I can’t play right away. If I work hard, I can still get on the field.”
The Trinity Christian (Jacksonville, Fla.) standout did say Alabama has an advantage over most schools. Wade said that his relationship with new defensive backs coach Derrick Ansley is growing, and his recruiting approach is different than most coaches.
“He’s getting to know me on a personal level,” Wade said of Ansley. “Some coaches don’t really try to get to know me, all they want to talk about is football 24/7. (Ansley) is trying to get to know who I am as a kid.”
The 6-foot-1, 177-pounder has been committed to Ohio State since Jan. 12, 2015, the day the Buckeyes beat the Oregon Ducks in the national championship game.
Wade said he’s 100 percent committed to Ohio State, but the door is still open for other schools.
“I’m still going to be looking around because I want what’s best for me and my future in college for the next four years.
“I just really want to see these other college’s programs and how their culture is at their school. I want to see how these coaches interact with their players. I also want to see if these other schools have my major and if it’s rated highly at these schools.”
Wade, who plans on studying sports medicine in college, said he expects to attend Alabama’s spring game April 16. He does not know when a final decision on his commitment will come, although he is trying to enroll early, so it will need to come before January.
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.