Tuscaloosa's Kamari Lassiter drawing interest from college football's top programs
Growing up in Tuscaloosa and being a prep standout, while in the shadow of a college football giant, would make one think that the decision on where to play at the next level an easy one.
Stay at home and play for Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide.
For American Christian Academy’s Kamari Lassiter, it's not that simple.
According to 247sports, Lassiter is a 3-star prospect and the state's 16th best player for the Class of 2021. He lines up on both sides of the ball at wide receiver and cornerback for the Patriots.
"I like playing corner the most," Lassiter said. "I have a knack for making a ball on the ball. If the ball is in the air it is mine. Since I play receiver as well, I know what other receivers are going to do. When I first started playing football, I played corner first so I have more experience there."
Originally from Savannah, Georgia, Lassiter moved to Tuscaloosa before his ninth-grade season and he has not looked back.
"There is nothing, but love here," Lassiter said. "At ACA, everyone loves each other and football. The coaches here want you to be the best outside of football and that is why I love it so much."
In his first two seasons with the Patriots, Lassiter has played a huge role in the program reaching the third round of the playoffs in back-to-back years.
"As a team, we want a state title," Lassiter said. "That is all we want. Personally, I want to make sure I am leading the guys the right way and in the right direction. I have to show the younger guys on the field how things are carried out."
While reaching a state championship is the goal for his high school endeavors, Lassiter’s future on where he will play college football is still uncertain.
"In schools, I look for a family," Lassiter said. "I want a good education because football is going to end someday. I want to make sure the coaches can help me with my personal needs and that they push me to be the best."
The first offer Lassiter received was from a team in his home state, Georgia Tech. But months after that, the Crimson Tide came calling and offered Lassiter while he was at one of its 7-on-7 camps this past summer.
"I was beyond excited and humbled when Alabama offered me," Lassiter said. "For someone like Nick Saban to see my potential is humbling. I am honestly very blessed."
He also has offers from Vanderbilt, Yale, Southern Mississippi, Tennessee, and Florida Atlantic. But there is one school that the Crimson Tide might have to fend off if it wants to keep a talent like Lassiter in the area.
The Patriots star took a visit to Death Valley last weekend to watch the Tigers beat Texas A&M.
"It was crazy," Lassiter said. "Death Valley is a crazy place. It was nice and the fans were so welcoming. The facilities were great as well."
Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney and his staff have not offered Lassiter yet, but the interest is mutual on both sides.
There is not a timetable on Lassiter’s decision yet, nor should there be. He's only in the fourth week of his junior season and is enjoying the process.
"It has been a lot of fun," Lassiter said. "I have not really gotten to the most stressful part of it yet. That will be next year."
Although his final schools to choose from aren’t set, the thought of playing for Saban has always been a dream for Lassiter.
"It would be great and I know the city would be behind me," Lassiter said. "I know the kind of guys he produces. Whether they are in the NFL or just in life. If I went to Alabama, I know they would mold me into a great man beyond football."
Meanwhile, Lassiter is honing his leadership skills in order to help the Patriots reach their full potential. His head coach, Chris Smelley, has taken notice.
"Kamari has came a long way as a leader," Smelley said. "He has made so many improvements from last year to this year. Drawing a lot of college interest has thrust him into a leadership role and he has responded well to it. He is definitely one of the guys on our team that everyone looks up to."