June 18, 2010

Rivals100 TE visits UA

From the day Nick Saban arrived at Alabama, tight end has been a position of emphasis both on the field and on the recruiting trail. The latest tight end target to receive heavy interest from the Crimson Tide is West Palm Beach (FL) star Nick O'Leary, a 6-foot-4, 230-pound athlete who has earned over 30 scholarship offers, include one from Alabama, after an impressive junior season with 4A state champion Dwyer High School. O'Leary, the grandson of gold legend Jack Nicklaus, took a week-long road trip last week that culminated in a visit to Tuscaloosa and the four-star prospect came away impressed with what he saw.

"This was the end of a big trip for me," O'Leary said. "I went to North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and finally Alabama all in one long road trip. It was cool to finally get out and see some of these schools in person. I think I really learned a lot about these programs, especially from getting to speak with all the head coaches."

"I got to spend several hours on campus looking around and took a full campus tour and everything. The campus has a really great atmosphere and they have some really strong academic programs there. Then I got to meet with Coach Saban and Coach (Bobby) Williams. They are both really nice guys and they know what they're talking about. Coach Saban runs a tight ship and he really pays attention to every detail of how things are done."

O'Leary's meeting with the Tide coaches helped answer a lot of questions about how Alabama utilizes the tight end in its offense.

"They told me all about how important the tight end is to what they like to do offensively. He showed me how it's really more than just a receiver or an extra blocker, they really involve the tight ends in almost everything they do and sometimes they use three on the field at the same time. That would mean a pretty good opportunity for me to get a chance to play early."

"I haven't really watched Alabama play very much the last few years, except in the national championship game. I know they win a lot of games but I've never really paid attention to how different teams use their players until this year. I will definitely watch them more closely this fall in terms of how they use their tight ends."

With dozens of offers to choose from, the nation's No. 2 tight end prospect isn't in a hurry to make any decisions about his college destination but things should begin to pick up towards the end of the summer.

"I still have a lot of offers to sort through right now and even though this trip helped a lot, I'm not ready to put anybody ahead of anybody else. I am going to pick the five schools that will get official visits by the end of the summer and then I probably won't make any decisions until after I've taken all those visits. I might announce at the Army All-American game but I haven't really set anything in stone yet."

As a junior, O'Leary hauled in 43 receptions for 679 yards and seven touchdowns for 4A state champions Dwyer High School. He is a member of the Rivals100 and is rated the No. 36 overall prospect in the nation.

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