Florida State commit Amir Rasul can rattle off Altee Tenpenny’s high school as if he were being asked a “Sports Jeopardy” question. He can name Alvin Kamara’s high school, too, and remembers how Norcross, led by Kamara, beat Lovejoy in the Georgia state championship in 2012. He also knows that Tyren Jones attended Walton.
Those three running backs all have one thing in common, which happened to be the biggest thing that Rasul needed answered on his official visit this weekend. They never finished their career with Alabama.
Rasul, a four-star running back from Coral Gables Senior High School (Miami), told SEC Country that he grew up an Alabama fan, and those three guys happened to be who he gravitated to.
“If I got an offer from Alabama, I may be playing under these guys one day,” Rasul said. “And those would be the guys that I would have questions for. All of them upped and left and I was just like ‘Dang.’ I really looked up to these guys. I am not joking with you. I was just confused when they left.”
He had a chance to ask running backs coach Burton Burns and Nick Saban why his favorite players left Alabama. Was there something negative about the program that turned these guys away from Alabama? If he didn’t get the answer he was looking for, Alabama’s chances at flipping him could have evaporated.
“I just now understand that it had nothing to do with the program itself,” Rasul said. “It’s all part of Alabama’s process.”
That process Rasul speaks of has also churned out Heisman Trophy winners Derrick Henry and Mark Ingram and NFL draft picks Trent Richardson, TJ Yeldon and Eddie Lacy. It just so happens that three of those guys listed all played for the same Alabama team.
So when asked about whether or not the commitment of four-star B.J. Emmons would be a factor for why he would choose to not commit to Alabama, Rasul was ready with another Crimson Tide history lesson.
“These guys were all there at the same time — Eddie Lacy, Trent Richardson and Mark Ingram — for all of those guys to do well is something to look at and consider,” Rasul said. “I’m OK with battling it out for a position. I’m also OK with being a supporter and doing what I have to do to help the team either way.”
During a closed-door meeting, Burns made it clear to Rasul that he was his top priority left on the recruiting trail. That meeting, unfortunately for Rasul and his mother, who accompanied him on his visit, happened in a very short time window because he had to catch a flight home. However, there was not one negative during that 40-minute conversation.
“My hosts (Brandon Kennedy and Chris Owens) went into Coach Burns’ office and told him ‘Amir is right here. Do you want him to see Coach Saban first?’ Coach Burns was like ‘No. I want to talk to Amir for as much time as I can. Don’t move him at all.’ It got to a point where a person that was in there left and it was just me, my mom and him. He got up and locked the door. That was really cool. We got to talk it out for a little bit.”
Burns didn’t hog up all of his time with Rasul, though. Saban did get a chance to talk with the potential member of the Crimson Tide, and he saw a side that many don’t get to see.
If you recall during the celebration after Alabama defeated Clemson in the national championship, ESPN reporter Tom Rinaldi asked Saban to smile. Rasul wanted fans to know that Saban is just a normal guy.
“He’s a really, really, really misunderstood guy. He’s all about business, which is true,” Rasul said. “Some people don’t understand the coaches that are all about business when you have coaches like Dabo (Swinney) and coach (Mark) Richt. People don’t get it, but of course Coach Saban likes to have fun and he even smiles and all of that. Work has to be done before he can smile.”
He continued: “That’s the vibe I got from him, which is totally fine. I understand his mindset and I feel like we both have the same kind of mindset.”
So from his “amazing” visit, what is the status of his commitment to Florida State? Would he really flip to Alabama after picking up an offer from the program just last month?
“I am still 100 percent committed to Florida State,” Rasul said. “I came in with Florida State, and come Feb. 3 (National Signing Day) — decisions, decisions, decisions — but Florida State is still my top school. I still plan on talking to Alabama, and if anything happens, I will just let God lead the way.”
If Rasul, a track star who runs a 4.38 40-yard dash, does decide to switch his commitment to Alabama, you can expect him to stick out his time in Tuscaloosa unlike the former Crimson Tide running backs he looked up to.
Rasul is rated as the nation’s No. 7 running back, per the 247Sports composite.
Read more Alabama recruiting coverage:
- First report says Alabama commit flipped to Mississippi State
- Then in a bizarre turn of events, he says he is still committed to Alabama
- Nation’s No. 6 wide receiver says his visit to Alabama was great
- LSU WR commit says “you never know” when asked what Alabama’s chances were with him
- Florida commit says he feels like a bigger priority to Alabama than his own school
- Big 12 commit can see himself become ‘an Alabama football player’