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Friday, February 8, 2013
Recruits react to Stoutland's departure

By Greg Ostendorf

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- It’s now official. Alabama offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland will take the same job with the Philadelphia Eagles. He was considered one of the best in college football at his position, but what does his departure mean for the Crimson Tide on the recruiting trail?

Stoutland, who came to Tuscaloosa from Miami, was responsible for recruiting the southern portion of Florida. He had a hand in the recruitment of wide receiver Amari Cooper a year ago, and he also helped discover four-state athlete Eddie Jackson in this year’s class.


Alabama’s going to put somebody in there who’s just as good or better than Coach Stout. I love him to death, and I’m going to miss him, but I think that’s been his dream, so I’m proud for him.


-- Alabama OL signee Bradley Bozeman

However, he’s most known for his work with the offensive lineman.

Alabama signed three in this class -- Leon Brown, Brandon Hill and Grant Hill -- and Stoutland played a major role in the recruitment of all three.

“I feel I had a relationship with him,” Grant Hill said. “I feel like he’s a great coach with what he’s done in the past and the group of offensive linemen that he’s had, but whatever is best for him and his family, I’m for it. I’m not going to be selfish and say, ‘Don’t go’ or anything. He has every right to do what he wants and what’s best for family.”

Stoutland also helped recruit four-star offensive lineman Bradley Bozeman, who opted to take a grayshirt from Alabama. He’ll sign with the Tide as a part of next year’s class.

“Coach Stout, he’s an amazing coach and person,” Bozeman said. “He’s like my second father, honestly. He’s one of the main reasons I went ahead and committed and just stayed so firm with Alabama because with him being there, he’s who I’d want to play for.

“But Alabama’s going to put somebody in there who’s just as good or better than Coach Stout. I love him to death, and I’m going to miss him, but I think that’s been his dream, so I’m proud for him.”

Offensive line was expected to be a priority again in 2014, and it’s too early to tell how the loss of Stoutland will affect Alabama with some of its top targets.

In-state offensive lineman Jordan Sims recently visited Tuscaloosa for the Tide’s junior day and spent time with Stoutland. He was surprised when he found out the coach was leaving for a job in the NFL.

“It kind of shocked me at first because I didn’t know he was even thinking about leaving, but I just hope that it doesn’t really affect [Alabama] recruiting me -- the fact that he knew me,” Sims said. “Now they kind of have to restart I guess.”

Saban will start the process of trying to find a replacement for Stoutland, a coach who can succeed both on and of the field.