May 5, 2011

Alex McCallister is just scratching the surface

Alex McCallister was a virtual unknown to even local colleges while playing as a junior at Winston-Salem (N.C.) R.J. Reynolds. Since transferring to Clemmons (N.C.) West Forsyth about a month ago, the recruitment of the 6-foot-6, 215-pounder has taken off in a big way and not ceased.

"He got four offers yesterday," West Forsyth coach Adrian Snow said on Thursday afternoon. "Recruiting has been moving and I firmly believe he will get one from today when Duke comes to see him. We've had a college coach watching out workouts for the past two weeks, it's been non-stop."

Snow admits that a month ago, college recruiters didn't even know McCallister's name. Going from no interest to seven has been a little overwhelming for the player but this isn't Snow's first rodeo and he has a detailed plan already set for the emerging star.

"We have a set way we handle recruits here at West," the coach said. "We're going to meet with the parents and we're going to talk about what we're going to do and not do. We'll sit down with him and his mom, lay out a plan of action of how we're going to do it. I feel like we've got a pretty good name at West Forsyth, people know when they come in, they're going to get what they need: they will get transcripts, information and tape. We made him a highlight tape from what we had and a couple of games he gave us. I firmly believe that helped sell him. I think all that stuff's nice, but you've still got to be able to play and look the part; and he does all of that. He's got a tremendous upside."

Snow, who has been at his school for three years, is happy that he won't be gameplanning to stop McCallister, like he has done the previous two years. Just like in recruiting, he's already got a plan for the rising-senior.

"He's such a good athlete that he can play in a lot of different places," he said. "They played him in seven different places, he played corner, inside linebacker, outside linebacker, defensive line, tight end, wide receiver, everywhere. For us, we're going to pretty much put him in one spot and he's going to have a home. I'm not saying we might now put him on offense every once in a while because we can let him run down there, throw it up to him and he'll catch it; but, for the most part, he's going to play outside linebacker and defensive end for us."

NC State was the first program to extend a verbal tender to McCallister, offering on April 20. He has already visited campus and the coach said he enjoyed his time in Raleigh.

Defensive backs coach Mike Reed is handling the Pack's pursuit of the high-ceiling athlete and since the Red and White pulled the trigger, North Carolina, Wake Forest, East Carolina, South Carolina and Texas Tech have followed suit. Duke drops by to watch the team work out today, and the coach thinks another program could join the offer list. Several other schools are obviously intrigued by the rising-senior and could drop by before the evaluation period ends.

"As of this time, these are the ones I know about," the coach said. "I've talked to Notre Dame and I think they're coming next week. I got a text from a recruiter in Florida that wanted to get in touch with me but I haven't talked to anybody from there at this time. I've also made contact with Georgia, Georgia Tech and Tennessee but have not heard anything at this time."

Snow said that McCallister has only been timed in the 40-yard dash three times in his life, with a best time of 4.7 seconds. He also revealed that the youngster has timed a 4.23 short shuttle and recorded a 38.5-inch vertical jump, in addition to owning a 7-2 wingspan. Some coaches have told Snow that his pupil compares favorably to the nation's biggest recruits at his position.

"I was told by a recruiter yesterday that there is a big-time recruit in the state of Virginia, I think he's the number one recruit in their state, defensive end Eli Harold from Virginia Beach. The exact comment from that recruiter, who was from this state, was, 'Coach, that cat is big-time and he's not the player that Alex McCallister is.' He said Alex has such a major upside at 6-6 with long arms and that athletic ability."

The coach couldn't be happier with the new player he received a few weeks ago, and his team is just as happy with their newest addition. West Forsyth averages around 65-70 kids per day at the after-school workouts and McCallister, despite not having much weight room experience according to his new coach, has already begun taking on a leadership role with the large group.

"He's done real well for us, he's transitioned real well in the classroom," Snow said. "He'll tell you the same thing, his work ethic has changed since he got to us. He does not miss our workouts. He is going to be here every day and he is going to work his butt off. I know he will reap the benefits of that.

"Our kids have taken to him. He's very humble, he's just a down-to-earth kid. He's not been running around, talking about how he's gotten all these offers. He's basically said, 'let's keep going to work.' We talked yesterday afternoon and he said, 'Coach, I don't want [recruiting] to mess up our senior year,' he said, 'our,' O-U-R.

"I told him that at the end of May, me, him and his mother are going to sit down and talk. We're going to talk about what he likes, what he doesn't like, where he is going to take visits this summer. Then, we're going to see those places and start to get a feel for [favorites]. I don't think he will be an early committer but he might be. I think [his offer list] is going to get larger and larger."

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