Recruiting in its simplest form is all about connections. Whether it be with a coach, a program, or even a fellow player, connections are what ultimately decide a recruits choices.
With that in mind, the Alabama Crimson Tide have a huge advantage in their recruitment of 5-star offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil because of his connection with one of their star commitments: Derrick Henry.
Tunsil visited Tuscaloosa last weekend and was joined by Henry, another 5-star recruit. According to quotes from Henry via Charles Power of 247Sports.com, he and the talented offensive tackle have a good rapport with each other and the visit went well:
“I think it was good to get him up there to see a game and see what the atmosphere is like. I think he enjoyed it. Me and him spent a lot of time together and had a real good time, so I think it went good. He toured around yesterday, but we had a flight and had to leave early.”
One of the biggest benefits of Tunsil being on campus was that he was joined by his mother, who will be a big part of his decision-making process.
“I thought it was big for her to see game day. I think she really enjoyed seeing us up there together. She really likes me and can see that me and Laremy have chemistry,” Henry stated.
If Alabama does get a commitment from Tunsil, I believe his friendship and connection to Henry is going to be the key factor.
The Crimson Tide and Georgia Bulldogs are currently on top of the 5-star's list according to 247Sports, but Florida and Florida State are also in the running. While Alabama would naturally seem like the favorite for 6'6'', 295-pound tackle, if we learned anything this weekend, it's that they can lose every now and then, so they'll need every advantage they can get over Georgia, FSU and Florida.
The best way to approach this situation would be to look at it from the eyes of Tunsil's mother.
Many parents just want their children to be happy, comfortable and in the best position to succeed. I'm sure she wouldn't mind him going to FSU or Florida being that they are much closer to home (Tunsil is from Lake City, Fla.), but if Alabama and Georgia really are the top two choices, how does one differentiate between the two?
I'm sure Laremy would be happy at either school, and he'd have the chance to be successful at either school, but it's Alabama that would provide Tunsil with that feeling of "home away from home" because of Henry.
Mind you, the transition from high school to college is just as hard on a 6'6''', 295-pound tackle as it was, is or will be for any of us, so how much better will Tunsil's mother feel knowing that a friend that he knows and has good chemistry with will be there with her son? It should be a big selling point for Tunsil as well. If you've ever played sports then you know how much better it is when you're playing with your friends, as opposed to playing against them.
Henry is a familiar face at Alabama and he's a friend. He'd be able to help Tunsil out with the transition, and they'd be able to help each other out on the football field. There's no doubt in my mind that a great back can make an offensive lineman look better, but that also works both ways.
Recruiting is all about connections, and Tunsil seems to have a good connection with the 5-star Alabama running back commit.
If Alabama is to get a commitment from Tunsil, I believe his friendship with Henry will be a huge reason why.