Scott Lashley committed to Alabama on Feb. 2, a day before National Signing Day, but he knew the Crimson Tide was going to be the program he would play for two weeks before that date.
Lashley, a four-star offensive tackle from West Point (Miss.) High School, told SEC Country he knew Alabama was going to be the school he committed to after he took an official visit to Tuscaloosa on Jan. 22.
“I knew from that point on,” Lashley said. “I told my mom that my mind was made up right after I took that visit.”
He didn’t tell the coaches of his decision until a few days after that visit. When Lashley gave the Alabama coaching staff the news, he said they were ecstatic
“(Offensive line) coach (Mario) Cristobal really thinks the world of me,” Lashley said. “I’ve only played football for a couple of years now and he really believes in my ability. Coach Saban was really happy when he found out, too. He’s really excited for me to come contribute to their program.”
During those final few weeks leading up to National Signing Day though, there were many recruiting analysts that believed Lashley was going to remain close to home and attend Mississippi State — which is only around 20 minutes away. He was committed to the Bulldogs … for one day back in May 2015.
In the sixth edition of our Alabama recruiting rewind series, Lashley goes into detail on his commitment to play for the Crimson Tide, the worst thing a college coach told him throughout his recruiting process and how Les Miles poorly tried to negatively recruit against Alabama.
Q: What school came in second? What could they have done a little better?
Lashley: Mississippi State. It just got down to the point where I built a great relationship with both (Mississippi State offensive line coach John) Hevesy and Cristobal. It just came down to which program was the best for me. I don’t think Mississippi State could have done anything differently. I just wanted to compete against the best and play in the best facilities.
Q: Some people may have been surprised to see you commit to Alabama over Mississippi State because of how close you are to Starkville. When did you know that you were going to Alabama?
Lashley: It was right after my official visit to Alabama (on Jan. 22). I knew from that point on. I told my mom that my mind was made up right after I took that visit.
Q: When you told Mississippi State that you weren’t going there, what was that conversation like?
Lashley: Coach Hevesy is a good guy. He really just told me that he wanted me to do what’s best for me. He wished me the best of luck and he said he hopes to see me in the NFL one day.
Q: Did Mississippi State try to get you to change your mind at the end?
Lashley: No, I don’t think so. Once I committed, I didn’t get any hard recruiting from any teams. It was pretty much a wrap. I had made up my mind that I was going to Alabama.
Other Alabama recruiting rewinds:
- Jared Mayden says some coaches called Nick Saban ‘Nick Satan’
- Quinnen Williams on why he signed with Alabama over his childhood dream school, Auburn
- Nigel Knott explains why he was disappointed with his father’s alma mater
- Joshua Jacobs says one SEC school talked down on Alabama after he committed
- Lyndell “Mack” Wilson explains why the No. 3 means so much to him, and he talks about how long is recovery is going to be from surgery
Q: How much negative recruiting was out there?
Lashley: There was tons of that. A lot of it came from the fans, but some from the coaches, too. We went to Coach Les Miles’ house on my official visit there and he was like — he didn’t say Alabama by name, but what he was saying added up to be Alabama. He was just talking about how there is a battle between the quarterbacks right now. He was saying how they are losing big-time players on defense, so it’s not going to be the same. He told me how Alabama had two early enrollee offensive tackles. Your chances may be slim to none. He didn’t say Alabama, but you could figure out which school he was talking about.
The worst thing I heard from a coach was that if I didn’t attend their school, I would not make it to the NFL. I showed my utmost respect when he said that and listened to what else he had to say, but the next day, I told him that I didn’t think their college was the best place for me. That was the last conversation I had with him. (He declined to say which coach or school said this.)
Q: What was the funniest thing that happened on one of your recruiting trips?
Lashley: When I went to Tennessee, the offensive line coach (Don Mahoney) tripped and fell down the stairs. I was laughing pretty hard, but I checked on him to make sure he was alright. He was good.
Q: Which program was it the hardest to say no to?
Lashley: Definitely Alabama. All of the players I talked to said the same thing: “The hardest games are the practices.” They’re so confident going into games because they know that the other team didn’t go through what they went through in that week’s practice. At Alabama, you get coached by the best. Nick Saban is already a legend. Everything is the best at Alabama — the players, coaches, facilities. It’s hard to say no to that when you want to be the best, too.
Q: What’s the one thing you are most looking forward to when you get to Alabama?
Lashley: I just want to go and compete with the guys. I try to get there as much as possible to watch practice and see how they practice and how they warm up. I’m trying to get myself mentally prepared for when I get there. I am trying to get there with a humble mindset and just ready to learn. I would really like to be behind Cam Robinson for a year, if possible, and learn from him. I would love to come in and contribute right away, but Cam Robinson is probably going to be the No. 1 offensive tackle taken next year in the draft. I would love to learn from him and study him. I want to see how serious he is in the film room. When it’s my time to step up to the plate, I would love to pick up where he left off.
Q: Which college would you have considered more seriously if they had offered you earlier in the process?
Lashley: This may sound a little crazy, but Miami offered me right before the beginning of my senior season. Growing up my entire life, my father was a huge Miami Hurricanes fan. By the time they offered me, I had already released my top 10 and was set on those schools. I feel like if they would have offered me earlier, I would have given them a lot more attention.
Q: Which head coach of a team that you did not sign with was the nicest?
Lashley: Coach (Gus) Malzahn at Auburn and Coach Hugh Freeze at Ole Miss were the nicest coaches. They just seem like nice, genuine guys. Coach Saban, by the way, is a really straightforward coach. He is a really truthful guy.
Q: If you could give a junior ONLY one piece of advice about the recruiting process, what would it be?
Lashley: Don’t get caught up in all of the hype. Do what’s best for you and your family only.
Q; If you were in charge of the NCAA, what’s the one rule you would change with recruiting?
Lashley: The limit on how many people you can bring to a game on a visit (two). I would add two more people to make it four.
— Scott. (@Swagg3rFLOCKa_) January 24, 2016
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.