One of the strengths of Alabama's 2009 recruiting class that finished as the No. 1 class in the country was on the offensive line. After bringing in talented players like D.J. Fluker and Brandon Moore, Nick Saban and his staff are not slowing down on that front in 2010. Recently they offered another top offensive line prospect out of the state of Georgia.
Austin Shepherd out of Suwanee (Ga.) North Gwinnett recently picked up his first scholarship offer from the Tide.
"I finally got my first offer from Alabama," Shepherd said. "It was the day after Signing Day so that Thursday. I was pretty excited. I've been waiting for that first offer for a while so I was excited that I got it, especially coming from Coach Saban. He knows winning."
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Recently, Shepherd was able to visit Alabama unofficially on a trip that included stops at Auburn and Florida State as well.
"All the stuff there is brand new," he said of Alabama. "Everything is great. They give you everything you need to be successful. The coaches were really cool and down to earth, especially the O-line coach. He's been coaching 30 years and he knows what he's talking about."
Following the visit to Alabama, Shepherd stopped by the in-state rival Auburn.
"Auburn was kind of a shorter visit," he said. "Their coaching staff had just gotten there that week so they weren't as prepared so I saw their facilities. I really hadn't been recruited by them I just stopped by to see how their school compared to others."
Shepherd ended his college tour with a visit to the Florida State junior day in Tallahassee.
"Coach Trickett sat down and talked to me and said they don't really offer offensive linemen early and he said he would keep recruiting me and that he wanted to work with me at camp."
Shepherd is still working out his spring schedule but he anticipates getting a look at several more schools along with them many he has already seen.
"Right now I'm not exactly sure because it's really early and I know a lot of schools are going to be coming by during spring practice," he said. "That should help me figure out where I want to visit and see who shows me the most interest."
Along with the recruiting process, Shepherd will be staying busy working out with his team and focusing on some personal improvements.
"Our coach has a strong schedule for us," he said. "We work out every day. I work out with a trainer when we don't have a workout at school, trying to get leaner. I'm working on my weight, trying to get down to 290."
Next weekend, Shepherd will be returning to Tuscaloosa, this time for a junior day.