Inside linebacker Cameron Toney of Huntsville (Ala.) has been a Nick Saban fan for just about as long as he can remember.
"I always liked the way he coached," Toney said. "I liked him back at LSU. I was rooting for him at LSU."
Recently, Saban's current team - Alabama - became the first program to offer the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Class-of-2013 standout.
"They offered the first part of September," Toney said. "It was a Thursday. It was a great day for me. We played our rival team and ended up beating them. When I came home, I found out I had [the offer]. I camped there this summer in June. I worked with [Tide assistant] Kirby Smart. Nick Saban is my favorite head coach and Kirby Smart is my favorite defensive coordinator. Coach Saban said I did pretty good. They said, 'Make sure you keep your size up, keep doing what you're doing in school and keep improving, and you should get an offer soon."
For now, that is Toney's only offer. It likely won't be his last.
"I'm hearing from a lot of schools that send me information, but the schools that are really recruiting me are Alabama, Auburn, Mississippi State, LSU, Tennessee, Clemson and Southern California," Toney said. "Mississippi State was at my game against Beniquez Brown (of Florence, Ala.). I did pretty good. I ended up with 13 tackles, two hurries and a sack."
Who might be next to offer?
"LSU or Tennessee, I'd say," Toney said. "They're inviting me to games and sending me letters every day. They want me to come up and explore the campus."
Thus far, Toney has attended games this fall at Alabama and Auburn. He plans to be at Auburn again Saturday for its matchup against Florida.
"Right now, Alabama is my top team," Toney said. "But I don't want to push things too fast. I really want to keep my options open."