May 7, 2010

Tide offers JUCO pass rusher

Alabama head coach Nick Saban has shown in his three seasons at Alabama that he isn't afraid to recruit junior college players, particularly at positions of need. The defensive front seven wouldn't appear to be an area of great need right now for the Crimson Tide but nonetheless Saban extended a recent offer to one of the fastest-rising junior college prospects in the South, defensive end Leon Mackey. The star out of Hinds Community College originally signed with South Carolina out of high school but has opened his recruitment up and now holds at least eight scholarship offers.

"In the last month, I've gotten in new offers from Alabama, Ole Miss, Baylor, Houston and Southern Miss," Mackey said. "I really didn't expect to get this much attention but it's great that I have so many options."

"The Alabama offer was really surprising to me. I talked to Coach Saban on the phone recently and he was pretty positive about me. I think I expected a lot of schools to recruit me as kind of an option to give them more depth up front but Alabama and a lot of the other schools seem to think I can come in and really make a difference right away."

Mackey said in his conversation with the Tide head coach, Saban spoke in detail about how he envisions Mackey fitting into the Tide defense.

"Coach Saban said he sees me playing a couple of different roles, maybe as a pure defensive end and also possibly as an outside linebacker. He really likes my mobility and my ability to get to the passer in a hurry."

The 6-foot-5, 260-pound defender is on track to graduate in December and enroll at his chosen school for the spring semester.

"I expect to have a final decision by the time the season starts in the fall. I'm just trying to figure out which of these schools gives me the best chance at early playing time and also has a great coaching staff that can help me get better and hopefully continue my career at the pro level."

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