Alabama football has already landed the top quarterback in the state of Tennessee for the 2022 recruiting class in Ty Simpson and it could be making moves to add another elite player from the Volunteer State.
On Friday morning, defensive lineman Walter Nolen, a Cordova, Tenn. product, announced a final list of eight schools that included the Crimson Tide, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Ohio State, Oregon and USC.
The talented 6-foot-4, 300-pound defender is currently in the process of setting up official visits to different campuses. As of now, Nolen is set to visit Gainesville the weekend of June 4-6 and Ann Anbor the weekend of June 18-20.
A decision is expected from Nolen in either late 2021 or in early January, close to an All-American game.
When speaking with Sports Illustrated All-American's Matt Ray, here is what Nolen had to say about each one of his finalists:
On Alabama: I just feel like coach [Freddie] Roach can help me get where I want to be, and just being able to play for the coaching staff they have is a pretty great opportunity. They have been saying, look at what they've done in the past and how Alabama defensive linemen are prospering in the NFL.
On Florida: When I was at IMG, I feel like that helped better our relationship and me being able to talk to them and them just being 2-3 hours away. It was just a good chance, so being a college town, they are one of the biggest college towns you can think of, so that helps them. Eventually, when you get to college, you have to think about, you are going to share reps with the best because everybody is there for a reason, and you have to take that into consideration and get every opportunity you can. I feel like with Florida's offense getting off the field a lot it gives a chance for their defensive linemen to get more reps.
On Georgia: It is just like once I dropped my top 10, they picked it up a lot. They have picked up the speed, and now, I am talking to them every day, and just being able to get on zooms and get on the board with them has been pretty good and just showing me how they would use me on the defensive line and stuff. After the UA camp, we drove to Athens and drove around the campus for a bit. It was pretty good, even though I couldn't get in contact with coaches and stuff. It was still good to be able to ride around campus and see it.
On LSU: It is just the relationship I have been building with Coach O, and I have been steadily building on it. It is just one of my better ones. They have been just saying other schools want you, but we need you and stuff like that.
On Michigan: Just talking with Kody (Jones) that has been my childhood friend. We have been playing football together forever, and being able to take that to college would be great. Talking with Coach (Mike) Maconald and Coach (Ronald) Bellamy and all of them and just being able to talk to them about using me as a defensive lineman and defensive end. I feel like that is a defensive front I would want to be in. They have told me they would use me all across it.
On Ohio State: Just talking to coach Day and Coach Johnson, it has been one of my better ones. Just watching some of the guys in my class commit, I feel like it would be one of the best opportunities for me to team up with some of the people I would like to play with.
On Oregon: They are just saying I have a big body frame, and with my athleticism, I will be able to play on the inside and the outside. They are saying with their linebackers behind me it will free up the opportunity for me to take the one-on-ones. That is what I like.
On USC: When you talk about building your brand, I mean that is probably one of the biggest cities you can go to with the name, image, and likeness stuff coming up. Just being able to play for Coach Soto and them is a great opportunity, not just as a football player but as a business person.