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Sunday, March 17, 2013
2014 safety visits Bama, lands offer

By Greg Ostendorf

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The recruiting process is just getting started for 2014 safety Mattrell McGraw (River Ridge, La./John Curtis). He already has over 25 scholarship offers, but he took his first visit on Saturday to the University of Alabama.

“It was great,” McGraw said. “I enjoyed my visit. My parents definitely enjoyed it. We liked what we saw, and coach [Nick] Saban was everything I thought he would be. The facilities are top notch, so I definitely liked what I saw.”

McGraw took in the Crimson Tide’s first spring practice and even watched film with the defensive backs, but the highlight of the trip came when he sat down with Saban in his office and received a scholarship offer from the UA head coach.

“It was great,” McGraw said. “My dad likes Nick Saban. I like Nick Saban. It was a great moment to sit down and have a chance to talk with him in his office.”

The offer wasn’t your typical offer, though. It came with strings attached.

McGraw plays primarily at safety for his John Curtis High School, but Saban and the rest of the coaching staff like him as a cornerback. They want to see the 6-foot, 180-pound prospect play more at cornerback before making it a committable offer.

“They definitely like my play,” McGraw said. “[Saban] said that I’m a little undersized for free safety. They like a big, bulky, lanky guy at free safety, but he told me that he definitely thinks I would fit their system perfectly at cornerback or at the star spot.

“He just wants to see me work a little more at cornerback, to see if I can come up and hit guys, things like that.”

The coaching staff plans to evaluate him this spring, and McGraw says he’ll likely attend Alabama’s camp this summer where he can work out at cornerback against other top prospects in hopes of earning a "hard" offer.

“They said I have to show them that I’m worthy of getting a hard scholarship, which I will do,” he said. “I have no doubt in my mind that by the end of the summer or by the end of the spring that if I really want to pick Alabama, I have that choice.”

After signing four potential cornerbacks in the 2013 class, Alabama is not expected to take more than three at the position this year. Last week, the Tide received a commitment from Peach State cornerback Kalvaraz Bessent.

McGraw is willing to wait on Alabama, but he still plans to visit other interested schools. He’s scheduled to visit Oregon next month, and he also wants to visit both Texas and UCLA in the future.

The Louisiana native will be back in Tuscaloosa next month for the Tide’s spring game.