Kedrick James had a feeling he was going to eventually end up in Alabama’s class last Friday when he visited Tuscaloosa for the Crimson Tide’s cookout. He became an Alabama commit late Sunday night.
The most important thing for James, the nation’s No. 12 tight end, throughout his recruitment has been to find the best environment that will breed success. Would his circle of close people include those that had the same goals as him? Those goals are: to win a national championship, be a leader on and off the field and work as hard as he can to make it to the NFL.
“I felt like that was the case at Alabama,” James told SEC Country. “They have the same goals as me. They aren’t going to let each other down and neglect one another. Those are the guys I want to be with.”
James said Nick Saban played a major role in why he chose the Tide. The recruit and his family met with Saban after camp where the five-time national champion told him that he didn’t want players who were not looking to put in the work, time and effort needed to become not only a better player, but a better man.
That resonated with James.
When the 3-star prospect from La Vega High School (Waco, Texas) looked up to several older football players on his school’s team when he was younger, he quickly found out that a lot of those guys he looked up to were not the best people. Now that he’s a senior, James said he tries to be the best leader and role model he can be to the junior high school players he helps mentor in his community.
His conversation with Saban didn’t center around how Alabama planned to use the 6-foot-6, 250-pound prospect with a 6-foot-11 wingspan. The focus was on leadership. James, who would like to be a coach one day, was enamored with Saban’s message.
“He told me that no matter what I choose in life, you have to be able to lead,” James said. “Being a leader isn’t necessarily telling other people what to do all of the time, it’s about letting your actions speak louder than your words. Me being around the type of mindset he has is great to me. I haven’t been around many people who have the same mindset as me outside of family.
“He’s a blessing to me.”
James was once committed to Baylor. He ultimately de-committed from the school because Art Briles was fired and because of the sexual assault controversy that has engulfed the university.
Those two factors were key in him reopening his recruitment, but there was another major reason for why Baylor wasn’t the right school for him.
“Alabama’s environment is very different than what Baylor’s is,” James said. “Alabama has won a lot of national championships. Their players workout and practice like they haven’t won one. At Baylor, it’s totally different. Baylor wins a bowl and they think they’re untouchable. That’s a really bad characteristic to have, in my opinion. You can’t let your ego get the best of you.”
James said he’s going to shut down his recruitment now that he is committed to Alabama. He’s planning on majoring in kinesiology when he gets to Alabama. For now, James is focused on helping his younger brother, who will be a freshman at La Vega in the coming days, accomplish his goal of making the varsity football team.
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.