January 24, 2008

Who leads for Lawrence?

It doesn't hurt to be the first in line for most events, and in the case of the recruitment of George County's (Lucedale, Ms.) Alonzo Lawrence, the University of Alabama certainly helped their cause by being one of the initial schools to heavily recruit the 6-foot-1, 187-pound athlete.

Lawrence, now a Rivals100 prospect and the second-ranked cornerback nationally, has stated on several occasions that the Tide has maintained a spot at or near the top of his list of favorites. With a visit to Miami this weekend and a reported decision coming on Signing Day, what is the latest?

"I think Alabama is still ahead for Alonzo," said George County Coach Al Jones. "He talks about Alabama more than the other schools, and he talks about them more favorably. Alabama and Ole Miss did themselves a favor by getting in on him early. I think those are the two schools at the top of his list and Alabama is probably ahead right now."

Will Lawrence's visit to Miami this weekend favor into his decision-making process?

"He could go down to the Miami and love it, and he has talked a lot about Miami," said Jones. "They don't have the long relationship with him that Alabama and Ole Miss has, but you never know.

"I am trying to talk Alonzo into making a decision next week. He has a lot on his plate right now. He has school work to do and is playing basketball. He is getting hounded all of the time. I want him to get this out of the way and not wait until Signing Day. That way, he can have a relaxed day when he signs with no pressure and it won't be a circus."

Alabama assistant coach Kirby Smart visited Lawrence at the school on Thursday.

"I wasn't at the school, but I know Coach Smart spent some time with Alonzo," said Jones. "Coach (Ron) Middleton did a great job recruiting Alonzo and visited here a bunch before he left, and Alabama has done a great job picking up where he left off."

Jones was also involved with another highly recruited prospect out of Mississippi.

"Eric Moulds was one of my players when I was an assistant, and he wasn't quite as highly recruited as Alonzo because he was a partial qualifier," said Jones. "I think they compare favorably as prospects, but Alonzo made more plays on both sides of the ball in high school and Eric. Eric blew up late in college and in the NFL and had that top-end speed where no one was going to catch him. Alonzo is more physically mature at the same stage than Eric.

"I have never seen a kid blow up like Alonzo as far as recruiting goes. It was Alabama, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Southern Miss early on, and then when people realized he was in range of qualifying, everybody got after him. He is a special player and will keep doing special things in college."

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