Given the success that Alabama football has had over the last decade, there’s never a shortage of high school players who would love to play for the Crimson Tide. For players at one high school in Louisiana, however, they’ll have to find a way to get in touch with the Tide on their own because their coach won’t let anybody from Alabama on campus.
Parkway High School coach David Feaster told 104.5 ESPN on Wednesday that he will not let Alabama on campus, but another school is more than welcome.
“LSU’s welcome in my school anytime,” Feaster said in the interview. “The only school that can’t come to Parkway is Alabama. And there’s a long story behind that, but it had to do with not being ethical in their recruiting.”
So what’s that long story? Well, Feaster says it is because of Alabama’s recruitment of Parkway quarterback Brandon Harris a few years ago. Feaster talked about the way former Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier and then-receiver coach Billy Napier recruited his star quarterback.
“They love the guy,” Feaster said. “(They say), ‘Hey, coach, we want to offer Brandon.’ I said, ‘OK, good. How many quarterbacks have you offered so far?’ (They said) ‘about 6 or 7.’ So I said, ‘So you really haven’t offered anybody.’ (They said), ‘Well, coach, an offer from us at quarterback is really an offer to come to camp.’ I said, ‘OK, I understand what you’re saying. You are offering these kids to meet Nick Saban. It’s a big deal and he might go. But what I am telling Brandon is you only have so much money and so much time to spend, go to the schools that have you atop the boards.”
Feaster went on to say that Napier contacted him again later after seeing Harris’ spring game film, calling him “phenomenal.”
“Napier calls me the next day and says, ‘Coach, I have some good news for you. Tell Brandon to call me on this phone during this period and I’ll put Nick Saban on the phone,”’ Feaster said. “We do that and Saban says, ‘You have a scholarship at the University of Alabama.’ So, they gave him a scholarship offer. It was a committable offer.
“By the time he gets to campus in June -- and I’m not saying Brandon was going to commit to Alabama -- it wasn’t an option. Basically what they told him is that we got other guys that are going to come through here, and I promised them a shot. So we have to wait and see then.”
And because of all this, Feaster says his players are welcome to go to Alabama, but he’s not “going to help Alabama recruit my guys.”
Harris, of course, wound up going to LSU, and just last week announced his intent to transfer somewhere else to finish his college career.
As for Feaster’s policy when it comes to Alabama, I get where he’s coming from. Recruiting can be a shady business, and I’m not talking about NCAA violations. I’m just saying in the sense that scholarship offers aren’t always real scholarship offers, and it’s important to know exactly what kind of offer a school is making you when one is extended.
On the other side of the coin, I don’t really blame Alabama for approaching things the way it does in Feaster’s story, either. It’s in a position where it can be a lot pickier than a lot of other schools, and there’s no need for Alabama to rush into anything.
So on one side you have a high school coach doing what he believes is best for his players, and on the other side is a school doing what it believes is best for its program. There’s nobody really in the wrong here, though I do think banning Alabama from your campus entirely may be taking things to a bit of an extreme. If I’m Feaster I want to protect my players, but I don’t want to close off any potential avenues, either.
You can listen to Feaster’s entire interview here .