Ex-UGA recruit commits to Alabama (UPDATED)

Nick Saban (AP file/Butch Dil)

Nick Saban (AP file/Butch Dil)

BJ Emmons, who de-committed from UGA last month, is headed to Alabama.

The 4-star running back from Morganton, N.C.., committed to Alabama over Tennessee on Monday. Emmons didn’t have much communication with UGA after backing off his pledge.

“I think that he and his family took a trip to Alabama at the beginning of last week,” his high school coach, Brandon Allen told the AJC. “Me and a couple of other coaches had already been down there to Alabama with BJ. He fell in love with it down there.

“He was pretty torn between Alabama and a couple of other schools – one in particular (Tennessee). But when he took the last visit to Alabama with his family, I feel pretty confident in saying that they felt like it was the best place – not just athletically but academically. We’re excited for BJ.”

BJ Emmons (247sports)

BJ Emmons (247sports)

How did Emmons differentiate between Alabama and Tennessee? “He really liked the coaching staff at Tennessee, and everything they had to offer,” Allen said. “He had been there several times. Tennessee’s proximity is really close to Morganton, so it wouldn’t have been very far. But when he had the chance to go back down and visit with the Alabama coaches, I think he felt like that was the best place for him.”

What went wrong between Emmons and UGA? The Bulldogs took a chance on Emmons when it appeared that he was a long shot to meet college entrance requirements. Emmons improved his grades over the spring — and that spike attracted a new batch of offers, including Alabama and Tennessee. Emmons de-committed from UGA because he felt like he rushed his decision and he wanted to review his new options.

“I don’t think that he had any more contact with Georgia once de-committed,” Allen said. “I know that he spoke to the head football coach (Mark Richt) there when he de-committed. He still felt like Georgia was in the running there, but there wasn’t much conversation there once Alabama was in the mix.

“I think Georgia reached out to me once after that to see if he could come down for camp, but at that point it was between two schools, Alabama and Tennessee. It’s not that Georgia isn’t a great program, because they certainly are. It would’ve been a great fit for BJ there as well with his skillset. But I think he made the best choice for him with Alabama.”

UGA is still searching for a running back for its 2016 class, and the Bulldogs appear to have settled upon Elijah Holyfield as the top target. Holyfield is a 4-star from Woodward Academy who has Auburn, Alabama and UGA among his leaders. He’s the son of boxing great Evander Holyfield.

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