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Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Watch List WR talks Bama, Cristobal hire

By Greg Ostendorf

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- On Monday, Alabama fans learned that Mario Cristobal will be their new offensive line coach. The hire should help the Crimson Tide’s chances with ESPN Watch List wide receiver Jake McCrary (Miami/Coral Reef), who knew Cristobal from his days as head coach at Florida International and more recently from his stint at Miami.

“Coach Cristobal, he’s a great coach,” McCrary said. “He was over at FIU and turned that program around. He was at Miami for a short time. That’s when I really started to know him a little better.

“A better offer came on the table, and he took the best job that was for him, the Alabama job. I’m happy for him, and I think that will help Alabama a lot more because he’s a local guy, and he could get the local kids up there to Alabama.”

The 2014 class has a number of talented recruits from Miami and the surrounding areas.

In addition to McCrary, they include wide receiver Ermon Lane, offensive tackle K.C. McDermott and running back Sony Michel.

For Lane and McCrary, the UA coaches need only mention a fellow wide receiver from the Miami area, Tide freshman Amari Cooper.

“He was a kid, I kind of felt like he was underrated at the beginning,” McCrary said. “I was actually up there when he got the Alabama offer. He balled out at the camp, and Coach [Nick] Saban really liked him. For him to go up to Alabama, start as a freshman and break the records that he did, it was only a plus.”

McCrary, a former Florida State commitment, has Alabama pretty high on his list. But he says Clemson, Florida State and West Virginia are the three schools that are coming after him the hardest.

“Right now, I’m just trying to take my recruitment a little slower because I was once committed and I felt like I committed too early,” he said. “Now I just want take a step back, really get to know the coaches and find out which program is best for me.”

On Monday, McCrary added a new school to the growing list of offers -- Auburn.

“The Auburn offer came from Coach [Dameyune] Craig,” McCrary said. “He actually contacted me on Facebook, asked if I was interested in Auburn, and he told me to give him a call if I was. I gave him a call right away.

“He asked me, ‘Are you ready to play some big-time ball?' He said that the program was going to change. It felt real great because Auburn is an SEC school with great tradition and a great program. It was just amazing to have the offer.”

This weekend, McCrary plans to attend junior day at Florida State. He’s already been to junior days at Clemson and more recently, Miami.