Just prior to the spring game, coach Gus Malzahn and offensive line coach Herb Hand detoured from pregame stretches to chat with a pair of recruits who stood head-and-shoulders above the rest.
A combination of 578 pounds, 2019 offensive linemen Clay Webb and Pierce Quick were attached at the hip on the sideline of A-Day. Malzahn and Hand ventured over for some special-treatment, 1-on-1 time with the rising junior prospects, who are 2 of the most coveted offensive linemen in the entire 2019 class.
The players are ranked the No. 1 and No. 2 overall prospects in the state of Alabama for the 2019 class, according to 247Sports. Webb, from Oxford (Ala.), holds the top spot and ranks at No. 37 overall in the nation. Quick, from Hewitt-Trussville (Ala.), is second in Alabama and No. 106 among all 2019 prospects.
“I like these 2,” Malzahn shouted across the field at Hand as they marched over to Webb and Quick.
Those 2 offensive line targets have been coupled together for a few weeks now. Both were standouts at the Nike Opening camp in Atlanta last month. The following week, they both received invitations to the Under Armour Future 50 camp along with another Auburn target, quarterback Bo Nix.
Could all 3 end up at the same school?
They’ve talked about it with one another, though it’s too early for all to decide. If they do land at the same place, there is a good chance it will be great news for Auburn or Alabama and devastating news for the other.
Here’s the latest on each standout offensive linemen.
4-star T Pierce Quick, Hewitt-Trussville (Ala.)
Quick’s recruitment has taken off recently.
Auburn and Alabama have jumped on board, but so have Georgia, LSU and Clemson. It makes sense that Quick will stay in-state because the 2 in-state programs are recruiting him as hard, if not harder, than anyone. That’s not a guarantee, he said, but Quick also admitted the Auburn and Alabama fan pull around him will be hard to ignore.
For now, the 6-foot-4, 278-pound tackle is counting his blessings.
“It’s been a dream come true,” Quick said. “A year ago, I would’ve never expected to be in the situation I’m in right now. It’s fun, for sure.”
He’s already visited all 5 of the aforementioned programs — Auburn and Alabama, most regularly.
He’s now visited Auburn 3 times since his offer, which has included 2 closed-door practices and the A-Day scrimmage. It’s given him an up-close-and-personal look at Hand’s coaching style, which is something that draws Quick to Auburn.
“I love how he’s a guy that’s going to chew you out if you mess up, but he’s going to teach you. He’s not just going to yell at you for no reason and you have no clue what’s going on,” Quick said. “You’re going to learn something. … Really I like all the coaches there honestly. I think they’re going to be a really good program this year, and they’re going to continue getting better in the future.”
Alabama jumped out to an early lead, partially because of Quick’s childhood bias.
Auburn has managed to level the playing field. Quick has been to Auburn more than anywhere else recently, and the follow-the-visit philosophy generally tells the story.
But Quick also has started to ask himself the all-important question: What factor matters most?
His answer immediately had him start talking about the Tigers.
“One thing that will definitely play a factor is I want a family. That’s one thing I really do like about Auburn. I feel like Auburn’s football program is a big family,” Quick said. “They’re a program that’s going to be on the rise. Every year, they’re going to get better and better. That would definitely be something to see and beautiful campus.”
4-star G Clay Webb, Oxford (Ala.)
Unlike Quick, Webb has been on the recruiting scene even before he stepped on a high school football field.
The 6-foot-3, 300-pound lineman garnered attention from Mississippi State as an eighth grader when the Bulldogs came to scout one of his then-teammates. That exposure earned Webb invites to camps at all of the nation’s top programs, which has transitioned into offers from every nameable program.
While all programs chase him, there are really only 2 that will contend for his services.
“Auburn and Alabama. That’s where I feel comfortable,” Webb said.
Webb is seen as an Alabama lean early on, but he said he hasn’t narrowed his preferences whatsoever. Different from most Alabama prospects, Webb has an interesting story regarding his childhood fandom.
“It’s kind of really weird. When I grew up, I really couldn’t cheer for one team. I just liked good matchups. There was nothing better than the Alabama-Auburn Iron Bowl game,” Webb said. “It was always a top game, good rivalry.”
That’s a big reason why he expects to end up on 1 side of it when his college recruitment ends.
The Crimson Tide see Webb as a center, something he hasn’t played in high school. In fact, he has never played center at any level. That doesn’t scare him off. It just encourages him to fine-tune a new craft: “I guess I’ll just learn how to snap,” he said.
Auburn hasn’t explicitly labeled his position, but the Tigers like him as an interior lineman as well.
If the Tigers have an edge over the Crimson Tide, it will be because of the relationships.
“I just love the people there,” Webb said. “The coaches and players are so nice and friendly. It just feels like home. … Coach Hand reminds me a lot of a coach I used to have that I loved from high school who retired.”