November 23, 2010

Pettway powering team to perfection

Pensacola (FL) Catholic continues to roll unscathed through the Florida high school playoffs thanks to a powerful run-oriented offense and a stifling defense led by four-star lineman D.J. Pettway. The Alabama commit came into the season as one of the most talked-about prospects in the Panhandle and has lived up to every bit of the hype so far this year.

"We are undefeated this year and we play Taylor County in the second round of the playoffs this week. Our team has really come together this year and I feel like we are truly all on the same page. We just have a will to win, we prepare hard, we all stay focused in practice and when it comes time to perform, we always find a way to come through."

Pettway has played on both sides of the ball for Catholic this year but knows that his future at the next level is on the defensive side of the ball.

"I have played a little bit on offense this year. We have what we call our 'fat package' where we bring in a bunch of defensive lineman as extra blockers and we just line up and run it. I usually play a tight end in that formation and they've actually thrown it to me a few times out of that too."

"On defense, I feel like I've played a lot better this year. I've got seven sacks, I've gotten stronger and quicker and I've really tried to spend more time watching film this year. I feel like that has made a big difference. It helps my awareness of what's going on during the play and it has helped me in a few cases to sort of find my opponent's weaknesses and take advantage of that."

"Pretty much every school I've talked to likes me as a defensive end. Alabama has talked to me a little about playing outside linebacker in certain situations but I think for the most part they like me as a defensive end too."

When it comes to the Crimson Tide, Pettway said he's been pleased with the team he's seen on the field this year and believes the future remains bright for the Tide under head coach Nick Saban.

"I think Alabama has played better this year than they are getting credit for. Even when they lose, they still looked like they played pretty good on defense to me. It's a strong program with a lot of talent and everybody is going to drop a game or two most years. I think they'll be right back in the mix again next year."

While other programs continue to aggressively recruit Pettway, the 6-foot-3, 260-pound star said he is no longer interested in considering other schools.

"Miami, Southern Cal, South Carolina and Michigan State have all kept on me and are still trying to talk me into taking a visit. I may end up taking a couple of visits just for the experience but I'm really not interested in changing my commitment. I'm set on Alabama and the only official visit I'm really thinking about right now is my January 7th visit to Alabama."

Pettway is rated the nation's No. 13 strongside defensive end and the No. 124 overall prospect by Rivals.com.

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