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THURSDAY, JANUARY 4, 2007
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McCullough, McClain still going to Tide

By Josh Cooper
jcooper@decaturdaily.com 340-2460

At least one Alabama recruit with local ties is ready to welcome new Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban.

"I know he's a defensive coach," said Decatur High linebacker Rolando McClain, who committed to Alabama under former coach Mike Shula. "I think he can bring a national championship here. I just want to see what he brings to the table."

Alabama fired Shula on Nov. 26, and despite the uncertainty for recruits who committed to him, McClain remained strong in his desire to play for the Tide.

He said that he would like for defensive coordinator Joe Kines and defensive backs coach Chris Ball to stay but that he is fine with Saban holding the defensive reins.

Like McClain, Athens High all-state defensive tackle Alfred McCullough committed to the Crimson Tide in the fall.

McCullough's coach with the Golden Eagles, Allen Creasy, said he would be surprised if his standout lineman changes his mind.

"Alfred committed to Alabama and not a particular coaching staff," Creasy said.

"He liked (South Carolina coach) Steve Spurrier and likes the teams that he's had, but he never legitimately considered changing his commitments."

The crown jewel of the recruiting class, Tampa area (Plant H.S.) quarterback Robert Marve has said publicly that he is re-evaluating his commitment to Alabama.

On Wednesday, Marve commented on Alabama's hiring Saban but remained firm in his desire to look at other schools.

"That does answer some of my questions, but I'm going to wait and see who the offensive coordinator is," Marve told the recruiting Web site rivals.com. "Coach Saban won't coach me like the offensive coordinator, but it's nice to hear they got a guy now. I've been following him a bit because I kept hearing his name — I checked up on his past, and he's done a lot of great things."

Marve is expected to make an initial visit to Miami on Thursday. He will make an official recruiting visit later in the month.

Meanwhile, McClain is in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for the inaugural Offense-Defense All-American Bowl, a prep all-star football game that kicks off Thursday night.

Since Fort Lauderdale is about 30 miles north of Miami, McClain had a unique perspective of Wednesday's events when Saban left the Dolphins and took the Alabama job.

He said he had been following the situation and had been ribbed by teammates going into the game because of Alabama's coaching situation. Now McClain is having the last laugh.

"A lot of guys were joking about me because they said that I didn't have a coach," McClain said. "Now I can say stuff to them because I have the best coach possible."

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