Last month, Shyheim Carter told us he wants to start immediately for the Crimson Tide, and the four-star cornerback from Kentwood, La., certainly has a chance at doing so.
He cited Nick Saban’s recruiting pitch — “Whoever wins the job, wins the job” — as a primary reason he went with Alabama over Ole Miss during an emotional signing day in February.
Plenty of other schools tried and failed to gain much traction with Carter, most notably LSU, his “hometown” school.
Carter said Tigers fans were nasty to him after he made his final decision.
“When I signed with Alabama, LSU fans, they were bad-mouthing me a lot, just because I was an in-state prospect,” Carter said.
Did he ever consider attending school in Baton Rouge?
“Nah,” Carter said. “I just don’t like ‘em. There’s something about ‘em I just don’t like. I mean, LSU’s a great school, phenomenal school, but it’s just something personal I don’t like about ‘em.”
As previously noted, Carter’s mother, Elizabeth, said her son loved watching LSU when Saban was there in the early 2000s, and probably would have loved to play for the Tigers if the title-winning coach was still there.
“LSU wasn’t even top three,” Elizabeth said. “If (Saban would) have went back to LSU, it would’ve been the No. 1. I’m serious. He would follow that man.”
Georgia was another school that swung and missed.
Carter cited last season’s coaching staff shuffle as a sign to opt out of his relationship with the Bulldogs. But he had a strong relationship with Mark Richt, whose new school — Miami — shot into Carter’s top three once he was hired there.
“When he got fired, I wanted to visit Miami to see how it was,” Carter said. “Mark Richt, he’s one of the few head coaches I really liked. Good Christian man. Very Christian.”
Ole Miss was the only program besides Alabama that had a serious shot at Carter in the end.
Citing a need to open up his options, the cornerback de-committed from the Crimson Tide last fall and began an intense courtship with the Rebels.
“Ole Miss came hard,” Elizabeth said. “He was liking them. He was loving them.”
Hugh Freeze’s staff pitched a family environment, one that would make Carter’s immediate loved ones — his mother, grandmother and Carter’s two young children — comfortable.
“The whole coaching staff from Ole Miss was unbelievable,” Carter said. “They were inviting everybody. Something about Ole Miss, they just love about me. Nobody can ever break that bond between me and the coaching staff.”
Elizabeth noted that Alabama also made family a priority, leaving her son to examine differences in other areas.
That, of course, led him back to the football field.
“I just wanted to be part of a winning team and have an opportunity to come in and play,” Carter said. “I had an opportunity to come in and play at Ole Miss, but I really didn’t like my chances there.”