Florida was the first school to offer Alex Leatherwood a scholarship and the last to host him on an official visit.
But in the end, the 5-star offensive tackle from Pensacola, Fla., has chosen to play for the other division champion in the SEC.
After his trip to Gainesville last weekend, the Alabama pledge told SEC Country’s Chris Kirschner he doesn’t see himself playing elsewhere.
“To be honest, I don’t,” Leatherwood said. “It’s been a long and very enjoyable process, but I’m comfortable with my commitment, and I’m ready to start the (early enrollment) process.”
Leatherwood has been committed to the Crimson Tide for 18 months, but Florida was his No. 2 school and he continued to consider the Gators. After an in-home visit from Gators coach Jim McElwain last week, the nation’s No. 2 offensive tackle decided to take one final trip to Gainesville.
“My visit went well,” Leatherwood said. “I mostly enjoyed hanging out with coach McElwain, his wife and the coaching staff. I liked hearing about the future of the program from the coaching staff. They talked about that a lot. They said that they’re starting to put the pieces together.
“They’re rebuilding the winning tradition and they talked about how they won the SEC East two years in a row, which is the beginning of winning it all. They talked about how I could fit in by making an impact on the offensive line early.”
Florida’s pitch for playing time, however, isn’t a selling point for Leatherwood, he said. With Alabama offensive tackle Cam Robinson expected to turn pro in the 2017 NFL Draft, Leatherwood has an opportunity to start for the Crimson Tide in 2017.
“I know I can go there and play early, too,” he said.
Besides Alabama and Florida, Leatherwood also officially visited Auburn, Georgia and Michigan. After attending Florida’s final home game against South Carolina, Leatherwood told SEC Country his Alabama commitment was “iffy.”
That’s no longer the case.
“I did feel iffy before, but now I feel very confident with my commitment,” Leatherwood said. “I actually plan on signing my financial aid papers with Alabama soon. I just needed time to think over everything and evaluate things to the fullest.”
Unless otherwise indicated, ratings and rankings come from the 247Sports Composite.