When you’re a football recruit committed to an out-of-state program, there can be some pressure when the top school in your home state starts coming after you.
If you’re an Alabama prospect and Nick Saban is personally calling your phone, well, it’s quite a pickle to be in.
That’s the predicament running back Lamical Perine faced last November when the Crimson Tide offered him after he had been committed to Florida for six months.
“Every time I talked to Nick Saban I got nervous,” Perine said. “It was just a tough spot for me to be in, and you never know what he’s going to say. He knows how to recruit.”
Despite Alabama’s efforts, Perine decided to stick with the Gators and shut down his recruitment publicly. He said turning down Saban was not easy.
“We talked and I told him my heart wasn’t at Alabama and that I was sticking with Florida,” Perine said. “But he wasn’t giving up. He told me he still wanted me to come on an official visit, but I had already been up there so many times. I didn’t need to.”
The following is a Q&A with Perine in the second edition of our Florida recruiting rewind series.
Q: If you could give a junior ONLY one piece of advice about the recruiting process, what would it be?
A: “Honestly just to take all your visits, don’t just go to a school for coaches and try to make the best decision for you.”
Q: What school came in second? What could they have done a little better?
A: “Alabama. I feel like they could have recruited me harder early on. When I went on my visit, I just didn’t feel like I was at home. They didn’t make me feel comfortable.”
Q: What was the most creative thing a school or coach did to get your attention?
A: “Probably Florida. On my official, me and coach Skip literally hung out the whole time. We really had fun and he just felt like family to me. He looked into me a lot and recruited me. He checked on me every other day during the recruiting process.”
Q: What was the biggest rumor about you that wasn’t true?
A: “Everybody said I was going to de-commit and go to Alabama. Then at one point, people thought I was flipping to South Alabama. Both of those rumors weren’t true.”
Q: What’s the biggest secret you kept during the recruiting process?
A: I really didn’t have too many secrets. The biggest secret probably was Alabama offered me, I start getting kind of nervous. I knew they were going to come after me hard and there would be a lot of pressure on me.
Q: What is the funniest thing any HEAD coach said to you during the entire recruiting process?
A: “Definitely coach Mac, but I don’t know exactly. He said a lot of funny things. It’s just so many I can’t even think of one. ”
Q: What was your biggest regret during the recruiting process?
A: “I probably should have taken more official visits. If I went on all of them, I would have had a better experience with the recruiting process.”
Q: What was the funniest story that happened on one of your recruiting trips?
A: “Probably at Florida. Me and Quincy Wilson were laughing about his 247Sports photo. He had a funny-looking haircut. He doesn’t have it anymore, though.”
Q: Describe the impact of cost of attendance on your recruiting?
A: “No, I never about it. I never looked at it like that. When I went to schools, I checked out the fan bases and saw which fans cheered hard.”
Q: Which school disappointed you the most during recruiting?
A: “Auburn. They said I was too slow, so they weren’t really looking at me because I wasn’t their type of running back. I wasn’t really worried about it, though.”
Q: Which college would you have considered more seriously if they had offered you earlier in the process?
A: “Probably UCLA. I took a visit up there and it was nice. It just something different. The weather doesn’t get lower than 70. The wind blows all the time and there’s nice ladies out there.”
Q: How much negative recruiting was out there?
A: “A lot, honestly. When I didn’t choose Alabama after I got offered, I heard it from their fans. A lot of Florida State fans talked trash, too. I didn’t hear anything from coaches.”
Q: Which head coach of a team that you did not sign with was the nicest? Which coach was not the nicest?
A: “Coach (Mike) Bobo from Colorado State. He knew I was committed to Florida and he was like, ‘I understand, man.’ He just wished me a great future. I really didn’t have a coach who wasn’t nice to me.”
Q: If you were in charge of the NCAA, what’s the one rule you would change with recruiting?
A: “Probably the recruiters pushing players to go to a school. There were just rapid phone calls. They should lower the amount of times you can call a person.”