The possibility of playing football for the University of Alabama had Jah-Marien Latham discussing a potential commitment with those close to him over the last month or so. Following three visits to the Capstone, he got the news he had been waiting for on Saturday.
Nearly simultaneously, the class of 2020 two-way lineman from Reform (Ala.) Pickens County’s decision was made. He went public with a pledge on Monday morning, less than 48 hours after receiving word of an offer from the No. 1 program in college football.
“It’s a good fit for me, it’s close to home, they show a lot of love and it’s my dream school,” he said of selecting the Crimson Tide. “It’s the school I’ve always wanted to do to, so I couldn’t turn it down. I had been telling my parents and my coaches that as soon as I got that offer I was going to be committing.
“My family is behind me 100 percent no matter where I went so I feel pretty comfortable going there.”
The 6-foot-3, 270-pound junior, who plays on both lines for Pickens County, clinched the chance to play for the defending national champions on Friday night when Nick Saban’s coaching staff evaluated him in person during the playoff win over Falkville (Ala.) High.
“They came out to watch me Friday, It was Coach Kool (Craig Kuligowski),” he said. “I played well, it was an awesome feeling to know a dream-school coach was coming to watch you play. At that moment I knew I had to show out for them. I saw him walking down the sidelines and it sent chills up my spine and I knew I had to play hard. I was trying to do as much as I could because I knew I wanted the offer. It was probably the best game I’ve had on offense and defense.
“It feels good, I’ve been putting in work for this offer since this was the dream school I wanted to go to. It’s a dream come true.”
Not long after the performance, on Saturday morning, the anticipated news came through.
“They were like, ‘big fella we’re going to offer you a scholarship,'” he said. “I looked at my phone and couldn’t do nothing but smile. Me and my family were just smiling.
“It’s just a great campus, I love the atmosphere, I love the fans. I usually go over there every year for a game so it’s nothing new. I just love being over there.”
Latham has ability on both sides of the football but has expressed to Saban and company a desire to line up on defense, where he could eventually play multiple roles in the Alabama front.
“I can fit in playing 3-technique or maybe nose guard,” he said. “Wherever they put me at, that’s where I’m going to play. I think I play like Quinnen Williams, that’s somebody that I’ve looked up to ever since he started playing. That’s somebody I always watch video on, I try to use a lot of techniques that he uses.”
Pickens County head coach Michael Williams knows a thing or two about the trenches in Tuscaloosa considering his time as a tight end in the program from 2008-2012 before time in the NFL. The former Pickens County great uses the program to motivate his first Crimson Tide commitment as a coach.
“We talk about it almost every day as far as me going to the next level,” he said of the first-year head coach. “We’ve gone over what I need to do to make it to that level. When I’m doing something wrong at practice he would ask if I thought Alabama would be offering me if they were out here seeing me slacking. It makes me go harder.
“So Roll Tide!”
Latham has yet to be rated or ranked by the industry-generated 247Sports Composite. Pickens County is in the thick of the Class 1A state playoff race ahead of Friday’s third-round matchup with Spring Garden (Ala.) High School.