The nation’s No. 1 player will know where he’ll play college football on Sunday, but the public won’t know the answer until Wednesday.
Rashan Gary, a five-star defensive tackle from Paramus (N.J.) Catholic High School, told SEC Country at the Touchdown Club of Atlanta’s award presentation that with just five days to go until signing day, Alabama is still in the mix. If he ended up committing to the Crimson Tide, he knows why he would.
“Nick Saban is a great coach. He has a great background,” Gary said. “The defensive line coach, Bo Davis, he puts a lot of defensive linemen into the NFL. He could get me where I need to go very fast. It’s a big family atmosphere around there. Alabama also has Minkah Fitzpatrick there, and that’s one of my boys from back in New Jersey. He talks to me about a lot of things. He keeps it real with me. Those would be the key reasons why I would sign with Alabama.”
The 6-foot-5, 293-pounder decided to take an official visit to Clemson over Alabama this weekend, but it’s not because the Tide are out of the race. His decision to visit the Tigers came down to family reasons.
“It’s closest to my uncle’s,” he said. “I haven’t seen him in a while, so I have to go back to see him. That’s basically how I came up with my decision. I’ve only been to Clemson one time, so I definitely have to see it again. I want to see if I get the same feeling I had last time.”
Just hours before accepting his award for the Bobby Dodd National Lineman of the Year, Saban reached out to the five-star to make sure Alabama still has a chance come National Signing Day.
“His main message was really to really just give Alabama a hard look,” Gary said. “He feels like it would be a perfect fit for me.”
Even though Gary is taking an official visit to Clemson, he’s still trying to work out plans to visit Alabama this weekend. How likely he gets that done still remains to be seen.
Gary will announce his commitment live on ESPN’s SportsCenter on Feb. 3 at 1 p.m. ET.