Tana Patrick, the 6-foot-3, 225-pound four-star linebacker from North Jackson High School in Stevenson, Ala., had over 25 scholarship offers but in the end it came down to the two in-state schools – Alabama and Auburn.
“It was a real tough decision,” Patrick stated. “But Alabama just felt more like home. I can’t really say what it was, but I had that feeling about Alabama. It felt right.”
Patrick, ranked as the No. 7 strongside linebacker in the country by Scout.com, signed with the Tide after also officially visiting Auburn (Jan. 16) and Tennessee (Jan. 30).
“I felt really comfortable with the coaches and loved the atmosphere there,” he said. “I kept thinking about all my visits and tried to picture myself and whenever I did I pictured myself at Alabama.”
Another factor that helped the Tide was how they managed to get (linebackers) coach James Willis from Auburn (coach Willis is a former Auburn player and was the lone remaining assistant from coach Tommy Tuberville’s staff).
“He was great at Auburn and he’s gonna be real big for Alabama,” Patrick said. “I really like him a lot and have a great relationship with him already. I’ve known him since my freshman year.
“I was real shocked when I heard the news but excited,” he said. “I like his style and he was definitely the kind of coach I wanted to play for.”
Clearly coach Willis played a big part in landing Patrick. Another thing he says the Tide did well was selling him on the family environment in Tuscaloosa. “I guess that’s something that Alabama did better than the other schools,” he said. “They just made me feel part of the family right away. That’s real important to them and you could feel it.”
At one point in January, Patrick was also considering USC, Miami, Michigan, LSU and Tennessee. Ultimately, he decided that Michigan and USC were too far away, but he did visit the Vols on Jan. 30 – the final weekend before signing day.
“It was a good trip,” Patrick said. “But all my trips were fun. They really did recruit me hard towards the end. It got pretty crazy. It was getting down to the wire at that point so everybody was trying to guess what I was gonna do.”
When exactly did Patrick know that Alabama was the place for him? “It was on signing day,” he said. “That morning I just had a feeling about them so that’s what I did.”
Patrick reports a 3.0 core GPA and a 16 ACT, which he retook in January.