January 11, 2011

Saban sees Pettway

With the holiday recruiting dead period over on January 3, Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban is out visiting prospects. Earlier this week, Saban swung by Pensacola, Florida to check on Tide commitment D.J. Pettway. Saban spoke with Pettway about his hiring of Clemson defensive line coach Chris Rumph, who will replace Coach Bo Davis at the same spot for Alabama.

"The visit went well," Pettway said. "Every time we meet with Coach Saban, it's good. He came by the school and then came by the house. He told me that Coach Rumph would be coming down to see me in two weeks, after the next dead period is over. I trust Alabama's decision on the hire. He seems like a really good coach. At Clemson he had one of the top defensive lines in college football this year."

Pettway's commitment to Alabama remains solid, but he says he's open to visiting some other schools.

"I'm solid," he said. "I might take a couple visits. I'm not sure where though. I know time is running out, but I'm not sure where else I might visit."

Pettway, who is officially visiting Tuscaloosa on January 21, plans to enroll at Alabama in June and has a roommate in mind.

"If they're not putting defensive linemen together, I wouldn't mind rooming with my boy Danny Woodson. We're real cool. He lives in Mobile, which is right by me. He actually called me last night from the US Army All-American game."

In late December, Pettway participated in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl and drew rave reviews throughout the week of practice.

"It was a great experience- one of the best experiences I've had," said Pettway. "Myrtle Beach was a nice place and I got to spend some time with my future teammates, Chris Jones and Isaac Luatua. I also met a lot of cool dudes I'm going to be playing against in the SEC and a lot of West Coast guys, too. "

During the week, Pettway says he made an attempt to recruit Tide targets Phillip Dukes, Jeremy Hill, and Cameron Clear.

"I talked with them a little bit," he said. "You know they have their own perspectives about things. It's hard to recruit. Recruiting is a hard job."

In practice, Pettway was particularly impressive in one-on-one drills versus offensive linemen. The 6'3 260 pounder flashed an impressive arsenal of pass-rush moves and drew comparisons to current Carolina Panther Eric Norwood.

"I've always worked on my pass rush back home," said Pettway. "My trainer and I just go at it. I focus on getting better every day and trying to learn and perfect every move. I think my pass rush is one of the strong aspects of my game along with knowing how to stop the run."

This season, Pettway's Pensacola Catholic team lost to eventual state champion Trinity Catholic in Florida's Class 2B state semifinals. The Crusaders finished with an 8-6 record despite forfeiting four games due to playing an academically ineligible player. Pettway is part of a special senior class that has as many as six FBS prospects.

"It was a great year. It was everything I expected," he said. "We went out with a bang and only lost by a touchdown in our last game. It was a joy playing with all those guys for four years. It will be something I'll remember for the rest of my life. It was great."

Pettway is rated as a four star prospect and is ranked as the 124th best prospect in the nation by Rivals.com.

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