It’s not just games on the field that are sometimes determined by the smallest of measures. Recruiting can also come down to personalizing a message or connection with a star athlete. If that’s the case with Oaks Christian High defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, the No. 1 national recruit in the USA TODAY Chosen 25, the Westlake Village, Calif., product might end up at Alabama.
It won’t necessarily be for all the winning, though there will almost surely be plenty of that. It may be because Thibodeaux’s great-grandfather was an Alabama native and huge Crimson Tide fan, and coach Nick Saban was clever enough to take advantage of that.
As noted by Thibodeaux after he returned from a weekend trip to Tuscaloosa (he left at halftime of Oaks Christian’s 83-0 rout of Bakersfield Christian to fly to Alabama for Saturday’s game, for what it’s worth), Saban autographed a family photo of his grandfather, and that gesture apparently left quite an impression:
Look, it’s still early in the recruiting process for the super elite recruits, relatively speaking. It’s likely that Thibodeaux’s recruiting status will swing back and forth twice between now and the early signing period. Still, the fact that Alabama made an effort to connect with his heritage in the state shouldn’t be overlooked.
Will a sentimental connection be the decisive edge, the ephemeral boost that can get Alabama over the top with their latest top target? Hey, we certainly wouldn’t bet against Alabama on the field, and we wouldn’t bet against this turning Thibodeaux’s tide, either.