January 22, 2012

In-state LB weighing his options

University of Alabama head coach Nick Saban recently reached out to 2013 linebacker recruit Cameron Toney. Saban checked in with the Huntsville native last week and offered him an invitation to the Crimson Tide's junior day.

Alabama is the only school so far to make a verbal scholarship offer. Toney said he received a written letter offer from the UA head coach.

"Well, just me being a fan of Alabama, that's one place I always wanted to go," Toney said. "I just love how Nick Saban coaches, and I've always loved Nick Saban, even back when he was at Michigan State. I always said 'I want to play under this guy.' Right now, in this position that I get to talk to him, it's great for me."

But Toney isn't ready to commit to the Crimson Tide just yet.

"Right now, I'm in the middle. Anything could happen between now and my college career, so that's why I'm looking at schools."

In addition to Alabama, the junior linebacker is also interested in Auburn and Georgia Tech, not just for the football, but because of their academic programs as well. Toney plans to major in engineering.

"At Georgia Tech, they recruited me, but I have never met anybody or talked on the phone," Toney said. "I get a lot of emails and letters and things. I've been looking up their facilities and all that kind of good stuff, but other than that, no communication between the coaches."

Toney's parents are both Alabama fans, but he says they aren't giving him any extra pressure to attend the in-state school. They plan to support their son no matter where he chooses to go to college.

"They always say, 'go where you feel like home,'" Toney said. "My parents support me no matter where I go. If I don't go to 'Bama or if I do."

Current Alabama linebacker commitment Reggie Ragland, who also hails from the Huntsville area, has taken Toney under his wing in a sense and given advice to the 2013 prospect. Ragland would be happy if Toney chose Alabama, but he's also giving his friend space to make his own decision.

"I've known him since I was like six or seven years old," Toney said. "He's telling me to go with your heart. You know, he's older than me and I look up to him. He's the one who helped me with a lot of things, brought me to camp, showed me around, and (I) took visits with him at first before I started getting recruited by (Alabama)."

Similar to Ragland, former UA assistant coach Sal Sunseri has also played a key role in the early recruitment of Toney. With Sunseri leaving for Tennessee, Toney says he will have to give a harder look to the Volunteers now.

"I talked to Coach Sal," Toney said. "He knows how I feel about Alabama. He told me he still wants me. He's still recruiting me for Tennessee. He wants me up there and to come check it out. He's the one who recruited me from when he was at Alabama, and he's recruiting me at Tennessee right now."

The Crimson Tide still remains as one of Toney's top schools.

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