Not many rising juniors have 35 scholarship offers to play college football to their name.
2022 four-star offensive tackle Gunner Givens does, and on Wednesday night, the University of Alabama added its name to that list.
“It was amazing,” Givens said. “Just a huge blessing for me and my family. Alabama is one of the best and prestigious football programs in the country. It’s the SEC, and they have a high graduation rate. It meant a lot.”
Givens, a 6-foot-6, 275 pound prospect out of Daleville, Va., received the good news from Crimson Tide assistant Sal Sunseri during a video call with his parents.
“Coach Sal seems like a really cool family guy,” Givens said. “He reminds me of the people where I grew up. He is just really genuine and a good guy.”
The Lord Botetourt High School standout says that Sunseri is the first coach from any school to ask Givens if he could meet his parents — a simple gesture that could go a long way for the Crimson Tide.
“The fact that the took time out of his day to meet my parents and talk to them, when a lot of schools have not done that, meant a lot to me,” Givens said.
At the start of his sophomore campaign with the Cavaliers, Givens made the move from tight end to left tackle full time. He has also spent time playing along the defensive end.
It will all depend on his playing weight whenever he arrives at the college level what position he sticks with, but the majority of schools want him manning the quarterback’s blindside and Alabama is no different.
“I just want to play football at the highest level,” Givens said. “And whatever position can get me there, is what I will do. Coach Sal says how fast my feet for my size, my tenacity and aggressiveness is good.
“I mean, I am not going to stop blocking someone until that whistle is blown. If that means pushing you into the stands, I am pushing you into the stands.”
Some of Givens’ Power Five offers include LSU, Penn State, Georgia, Arkansas, North Carolina, Texas A&M, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Florida State, Virginia Tech, among many others.
247Sports ranks him as the 137th best overall prospect and No. 15 offensive tackle in the recruiting class of 2022.
There are two former Crimson Tide players that caught Givens’ attention during their time at the Capstone — Jedrick Wills Jr. of the Cleveland Browns and Terrell Lewis of the Los Angeles Rams.
“I have watched Jedrick play a lot,” Givens said. “He is just a technician on the pass block and he knows how to protect the quarterback. Terrell is just a monster. He is a freak of nature the way he run with his size. It is just insane.”
This spring, Givens took visits to Virginia Tech, South Carolina, Virginia, and Clemson before in-person recruiting trips were shut down due to COVID-19.
He says that, based on his conversations with Sunseri, he will “definitely” have to get down to Tuscaloosa in either, late summer or the fall, for a game inside Bryant-Denny Stadium if deemed safe.
“I want to meet some of the other coaches,” Givens said. “And the players, too. If there is an energy inside the locker room, and the guys feel like brothers, that would be big for me.”