In college football recruiting, conventional wisdom suggests the first scholarship offers is toughest to get for prep stars.
Not only did it come early for sophomore linebacker Jackson Bratton, but it came from national champion Alabama.
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Muscle Shoals (Ala.) standout was a second-team All-State selection in 2017 and has seen his recruiting stock soar ever since, picking up the Crimson Tide offer from Nick Saban himself while on campus for junior day Saturday.
“I received my first offer from ‘Bama today!” he told 247Sports. “Coach Saban is the one who offered me and I talked to coach (Tosh) Lupoi after. He (Saban) just told me to keep my work up and don’t stop now, to keep working hard. It was awesome, and I’m just extremely blessed to have an offer now.
“It feels awesome, I never knew my first offer would come from ‘Bama and I’m pretty excited to have received it.”
Bratton, who grew up a Crimson Tide fan, has frequented Tuscaloosa early in his recruitment. After his January visit, where he first met new members of the defensive staff, he said Alabama was showing more interest than other programs at that point.
This visit provided time with defensive coordinator Tosh Lupoi in addition to Saban and others on staff.
“We mostly talked about personal stuff and had normal conversations and he just talked about there future plans for me,” Bratton said. “He just said how they really wanted me to play there and he just let me know how stuff rolls at ‘Bama and everything .”
While familiar with campus, two aspects of the unofficial visit were new to the class of 2020 prospect.
“I got to see the Bryant dorms and the nice academic place they have for the players and I really loved that,” he said. “And holding the national championship trophy was pretty awesome and nerve racking at the same time.”
It’s safe to say spending intimate time with the latest title trophy was the element of the visit one of the top underclassmen in the state was most unsure about.
“I was a little scared, not gonna lie,” Bratton said with a laugh.