High School Sports

Alabama’s Nick Saban, FSU’s Jimbo Fisher drop by Central High

Alabama head football coach Nick Saban, left, and Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher
Alabama head football coach Nick Saban, left, and Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher

Alabama head coach Nick Saban and Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher will meet when the Crimson Tide and the Seminoles play in the 2017 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game come September. Thanks to a recruiting trip to Central High School last week, the two men didn’t have to wait until fall to cross paths again.

Saban and Fisher were on hand at Central on Jan. 12 as the latest recruiting session is in progress. With National Signing Day coming on Feb. 1, Saban and Fisher are active on the recruiting trail just like all college football head coaches now that the 2016 season is over.

“We get a lot of coaches in, but it’s kind of unusual when you get two head coaches in at the same time,” Central head coach Jamey DuBose said. “Both coaches are tremendous recruiters. We have a lot of high-profile athletes who do well, and they try to drop in and check on guys who have either signed with them or check on some future recruits from me.”

DuBose explained that two Red Devils players were the focus of the coaches’ attentions.

Outside linebacker Markail Benton has been committed to the Crimson Tide since June, and the visit allowed Saban to catch up on the four-star before Signing Day and Fisher a chance to let Benton know the Seminoles are still interested. The two coaches also were looking at rising senior wide receiver Justyn Ross, who is considered a four-star receiver and the top Class of 2018 player in Alabama, according to the 247Sports Composite.

The visit from Saban and Fisher came days before Central unveiled its $4 million, 34,000-square-foot expansion, a project DuBose said left both men thoroughly impressed.

“We actually had not gotten complete clearance on the building, but we were able to show both coaches through,” DuBose said. “I think both coaches said it’s probably one of the nicest facilities, if not the nicest facility anywhere in this state or any neighboring state.”

Although he admitted the presence of both at the same time was unusual, DuBose explained the coaches stopping by is just par for the course this time of year. He said leading up to National Signing Day, Central averages about four or five college coaches a day, with that number getting as high as 15. He explained the need to be on call as a high school head coach and always ready to provide information in hopes of getting your players recognized.

Even with coaching visits as a regular occurrence, the arrival of Saban and Fisher eight months before they face off struck DuBose as an unusual twist in the recruiting realm.

“It’s kind of weird that those two guys were in there at the same time,” DuBose said. “I told someone it would have made for a great media day.”