Eddie Lacy, the 5-foot-11, 205-pound four-star running back from Dutchtown High School in Geismar, La., says that when he sat down for his signing day press conference and had the two hats in front of him, he still wasn’t 100 percent sure what he was going to do.
“It was a real hard decision,” Lacy said. “I didn’t think it was gonna be that hard. I thought I was gonna go to Alabama, but then I visited Tennessee and that really messed things up. I wasn’t expecting to like Tennessee so much.”
So why did Lacy end up choosing the Alabama hat? “Nobody knew that’s what I was going to do,” he said. “But that’s really where my friends and family wanted me to go. They’re real happy.
“When I sat down I just thought about Alabama and coach Nick Saban and how good they are,” Lacy said. “That was pretty much it. It’s just better competition at Alabama and I’ll be able to play against the best players in the country every day at practice. The only way you can get better is to play against the best and that’s what I felt would happen at Alabama.”
Lacy, ranked as the No. 24 running back in the country by Scout.com, chose the Tide despite saying that he felt he could play earlier at Tennessee. “I think I definitely could have seen some playing time faster at Tennessee but that wasn’t important to me,” he said.
After visiting the Vols on Jan. 30, many people believed that Lacy would choose the Vols based on his great experience in Knoxville. “The coaches at Tennessee are definitely really cool,” he said. “They are all pretty young and a lot of fun. I really wasn’t expecting it to be like that. It seemed like they really gelled with the players quickly. It didn’t feel like a new staff.”
But it was one coach who specifically stood out for the Vols. “I really liked (wide receiver coach) Frank Wilson,” he said. “I’ve known him since I was like six years old. He coached my older brother at Edmond Carr High School and he was a big part of why I was even considering Tennessee. He’s like a mentor or chaperone and I thought it would be great having someone like him in my life.”
Ultimately, even his close relationship with coach Wilson wasn’t enough for Lacy to ink with the Vols. “I couldn’t stop thinking about what coach Saban has done at Alabama,” he said. “In just two years they are like the best team. It’s incredible and it’s only going to get better.”
Lacy also has a real good relationship with the Tide running backs coach Burton Burns. “Coach Burns is pretty funny and likes to dance around and have a good time,” he said. “But I’ve heard that during the games he’s totally different. All business.
“That’s what coach Saban is like too,” Lacy said. “He’s a strict coach and doesn’t play any games. My parents and I really liked that about him. I know he’ll be able to teach me and I’ll learn a lot from him.”
Lacy also says he likes the offense that the Tide runs. “They said that I’m a real good fit for them and that they’ll even try me at receiver because I’m pretty good at catching the ball,” he said.
Although Lacy isn’t sure when exactly he’ll be moving to Tuscaloosa, he says he’s already developed a good relationship with (freshman) defensive back Robby Green, who is also originally from Louisiana.
“He’s cool,” Lacy said. “We text and get along great. He told me that college football is a job. It’s not all fun and games like high school and that everyone is competing for the same thing and that you’ve got to be completely focused the whole time.”
Focus is something Lacy is going to have to do to qualify. He reports a 2.0 core GPA and an 18 ACT, which he is retaking in March. “I’m really close,” he said. “I’ve got to finish up strong. I can’t slack off at all right now. I’m close but I’m gonna be fine. I’m working real hard right now to make sure I make it.”
Lacy says he knew from the beginning that he was going to take his time during the recruiting process. “I wanted to wait and not rush it,” he said. “I really enjoyed recruiting. It’s something unique that not everybody goes through. It’s really cool getting to talk to so many coaches and meet so many different people.”
So what kind of advice does Lacy have for the class of 2010? “It’s your decision,” he said. “Don’t try to make other people happy. Do what you have to do.”