TANNER, Ala. — Chadarius Townsend walked through the hallways of Tanner High School as two kindergartners pulled on his leg and pinched him.
The four-star Alabama commit and nation’s No. 6 athlete had every right to be annoyed, but stopped and smiled at the duo, even extending a high-five. Students regularly approach Townsend at the school that holds students from kindergarten to 12th grade.
Townsend doesn’t act like he’s the No. 4 prospect in the state of Alabama. There’s no look-at-me ego from the four-star athlete, but there very well could be.
Tanner coach Laron White knows what an Alabama football player looks like. After all, he played for the Crimson Tide from 1992-1996.
He now has the pleasure of coaching Townsend at Tanner, where White has been since 2003. In his time there, White said Townsend may be the most special player to ever put on a Rattlers jersey.
“He may be the most athletic, explosive, fastest kid we’ve ever had around Tanner,” White told SEC Country. “He’s not only fast, but he’s physical. Whenever he touches the ball, there’s a threat of him going the distance. He has so much big-play ability.”
That attitude that Townsend exhibits in the hallways of Tanner carries on to the football field, White said. But sometimes, he thinks it hurts in some cases.
“He’s humble to a fault,” White said. “Most of the time, he’s the best player on the football field, but he’s so unselfish. Sometimes we run a zone read and he can pull the ball back and score a bunch, but he’s so unselfish. He just makes the right read and we move on to the next play.”
Townsend plays quarterback for Tanner, but the Crimson Tide told the nation’s No. 6 athlete that he can play wide receiver, running back, cornerback or special teams when he arrives on campus this summer.
The 6-foot, 180-pounder has his eyes on receiver and kick returner.
“I just like the ball in my hands,” Townsend said. “Whichever position allows me to have the ball in my hand, that’s the one I’m going to choose.”
His coach agrees that receiver would be a good fit for him at the next level. Townsend has track speed, and has been clocked in the 40-yard dash at 4.4 seconds. He also runs the 100-meter, 200-meter and 4-by-100-meter events for Tanner.
White said Alabama coaches have used the word “gifted” when describing Townsend.
“There aren’t many players who are as fast as he is and as physical as he is,” White said of Townsend. “He’s a playmaker.”
Townsend is a firm commitment to Alabama, but that’s not stopping him from wanting to visit more schools, as he wants to see LSU, Florida and Florida State this summer.
But Crimson Tide fans shouldn’t be too worried.
“A commitment is a commitment. You can’t argue with that,” Townsend said.” Alabama is a great school and they are a top notch program. I know they can help me get to the NFL.
“Alabama is different than other schools. I feel more comfortable there than other schools. I don’t know what it is, but it’s just really great to be there.”
Townsend and White don’t talk a lot about Alabama, even though the coach’s office is filled with Crimson Tide gear.
The 6-foot, 180-pounder doesn’t need to hear his coach talk about the specifics of how the Crimson Tide would develop him as a man and an athlete because he sees it every single day when he’s around White.
“It seems like Alabama raises them right because he’s such a great coach and a great guy,” Townsend said.
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.