TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- When Michigan native Mark Ingram signed with Alabama in 2008, he was a rarity.
Not many Crimson Tide players came from north of the Mason Dixon line or anywhere outside of the southeast for that matter.
Now, Alabama is looking national. In the case of defensive lineman, it went international.
The Tide signed Trey DePriest and Ryan Kelly from Ohio, Isaac Luatua from California and Jesse Williams, a native of Australia.
“Recruiting is so global now and I think we have a very recognizable program,” Nick Saban said. “So for us not to take advantage of guys that are outside of our 5-hour radius that are interested in Alabama would not be in our best interest. I think we got some very good players from far away.”
Saban laughed when talking about the prospect of taking an in-home visit to Williams’ family in Brisbane, Australia.
“I wanted to go on a home visit to see Jesse Williams’ family more than any other player we’ve ever recruited,” Saban said smiling.
“And we got into the logistics of getting there and getting back, it was a 3-day trip. I could never figure out how to get that in there. That was one that if I went I think (wife) Miss Terry was going with me because there was no way I was taking a recruiting trip for three days to one family. And he wouldn’t have even be there.”
Being one of the biggest names in the 2011 recruiting class, defensive back Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix wore a target after committing to Alabama last April.
Since then, schools tried to get him to change his mind. That made Saban nervous.
“He never, ever once wavered,” Saban said. “I would always be worried and call him and say ‘Are you sure you’re ok?’
“Because people were hammering him for the past six months and it never, ever phased him. … The fact that you expect a guy like that to get a lot of attention recruiting and never get phased by that speaks a lot to me about being focused on what he wants to accomplish and I think that’s a special kind of person.”
Trey and Vinnie show
Two of the high school seniors who graduated early and enrolled at Alabama are becoming fast friends.
Vinnie Sunseri and DePriest are linebackers and roommates who wasted little time growing close.
While DePriest spoke to reporters Wednesday, Sunseri broke through the crowd holding a water bottle like a microphone.
“What have you learned so far since you got here,” a straight-faced Sunseri asked.
Said a smiling DePriest: “To stay away from you.”