The University of Alabama football program gained a verbal commitment from 2021 defensive tackle, Sports Illustrated All-American candidate Tim Keenan on Saturday morning.
Bama Central caught up with Ramsay High School coach Reuben Nelson to dive into the 6-foot-2, 340 pound prospect's game and how he will make the Crimson Tide better.
"He is a run-stopper," Nelson said. "He does a great job. I think he will be a two-gap player and I think he has a football knowledge that is outstanding. College coaches can only add to that knowledge and make him better. With the right d-line coaches, his potential is unstoppable."
Off the field, Nelson says it has been beneficial for the Ramsay program to see a recruitment like Keenan's. He says younger players have good reason to look up to his star lineman.
"Tim is a good kid who comes from a good family," Nelson said. "They believe in doing things the right way and he has done everything that we have asked him to do. He will do more than that if we get a chance to finish this season. So, I just think that humble is a pretty good word to describe him because he is just a good kid at heart.
"I think it was good for our school to have a player like him that received so much attention and for our young kids to see what that is all about. Tim has done a good job of handling his recruitment and getting his teammates involved as well."
From day one, Nelson says he knew what kind of player Keenan was going to end up being for his program. A violent, physical lineman who finished with seven tackles, one sack, and one fumble recovery for a touchdown last week in the team's 35-0 win over Bessemer City.
"It really started his freshman year," Nelson said. "He was our kicker, punter, and started on the defensive line. He was just everywhere as a freshman. Now, he does not do all those things anymore, but we knew then he was an athlete in a big man's body."
The evolution of defensive linemen in modern college football has shifted away from the old-school bruisers like Keenan, but coaches like Nick Saban, who won his commitment, and Kirby Smart still value the traditional nose guard spot, which made Keenan such a high-profile recruit.
"The coaches who have recruited him are some of the best defensive minds in America," Nelson said. "If they think he can come play ball for them, then who can really say that he can't? He is going to demand a double-team. With that being said, he is always going to bring value into your organization."
With his commitment now out of the way, Keenan and the Ramsay Rams are set to take on Wenonah next Friday night for their second game of the season. Nelson has one main message for his star player now.
"He should go all out for our team," Nelson said. "I am expecting that out of him. I am expecting him to help us compete for a playoff berth and possibly more. I just want him to understand he plays for Ramsay and he is going to be our leader right now."