February 5, 2008

Tide lands 4-star

In a recruiting season where Alabama Coach Nick Saban has pulled off all kinds of superlatives to land what could be the top signing class in the country, the Tide staff may have pulled off their biggest stunner yet on Tuesday afternoon.

With Alabama beginning their recruitment of Flint Southwestern Academy athlete Mark Ingram much later than their top competition for the 5-foot-10, 200-pound athlete, 838 miles between Ingram's hometown of Flint to Tuscaloosa and the fact that Ingram was a Michigan State legacy with his father being a one-time star of the Spartans, the Tide coaching staff hurdled those obstacles and landed the commitment of the home-run hitting back at a ceremony at his school.

"I have picked Alabama because it is the chance to come in with a special recruiting class and compete for a championship," said Ingram, who rushed for nearly 2,000 yards in just nine game last fall. "I also had a better connection with Alabama's coaches and players than the other schools recruiting me. When I came back from my official to Alabama, I told my mom that the players were guys that I really could relate to and I had a lot in common with the other members of the team and recruits. She told me that this was the first visit I had been on where I had came back and said that. It got me thinking and I prayed about it and decided to go to Alabama. I called Coach Saban Sunday night to let him know about my decision.

"My family was great about the whole thing. They want me to do what is best for me, and they never put any pressure on me. They really liked the Alabama staff and they knew I would be in good hands even though I will be so far away."

Ingram indicates that the Tide beat out Iowa and Michigan State - in that order - for his signature.

"Everyone assumed that I was a Michigan State lock because my father went there and it was the home state school," said Ingram. "I was always going to go on my own path, whether it was Michigan State or Iowa or Alabama. All of the schools that recruited me did a great job. Iowa had a great opportunity for playing time and I got along real well with their coaches. Alabama in the end was just where I felt I would fit in best.

"I am positive this is the right decision. I am already looking forward to getting to Tuscaloosa and getting started. I have a chance to go in and make an immediate impact as a freshman."

Ingram is the 17th-ranked athlete nationally per Rivals and a four-star prospect. A good student, Ingram is expected to be a full qualifier.

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