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Alabama Crimson Tide

‘My heart was always there’

Alabama has regained its one-time running back pledge as 5-star prospect Trey Sanders committed to the Crimson Tide on Wednesday afternoon over Georgia, Florida and Texas.

“I gotta finish what I started,” Sanders told 247Sports’ John Garcia Jr.. “I committed my freshman year and that love just never left.”

Sanders says his final decision came to him on Wednesday morning, and it was hard for him to make with all the programs pushing. One factor that many felt could have impacted the nation’s top-ranked ball carrier’s decision was offensive coordinator Mike Locksley leaving Tuscaloosa for Maryland.

“They have a lot of coaching changes, so it really wasn’t a big problem for me,” Sanders said. “I know Coach (Nick) Saban is going to have the best coaches at the end of the day no matter what. I love the University of Alabama and what they do. They’re going to find a way to win.

“My heart was always there.”

Saban was thrilled to hear the news, and, according to Sanders, may have shed a tear.

“I have never heard Coach Saban say this but (he said), ‘Hey Trey, I love you man,’” Sanders said of Saban’s reaction. “I ain’t never heard Coach Saban say that. I could hear him smiling … it kind of sounded like he was crying a little bit.”

Sanders played the final years of his high school career at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. He announced his commitment back at his hometown high school in Port St. Joe, Fla. The decision to announce at home was important to Sanders.

“A couple weeks ago we had a horrible storm and it just demolished our town,” he said of Hurricane Michael. “I never forget where I came from. This place made Trey Sanders. When I heard about that, I was like I gotta do it back in my hometown. I gotta bring some more light.”

Sanders will sign early, but for now he is not actually planning to enroll until the summer.

Updated with what Nick Saban said about the signing class (Sanders signed after the conclusion of the press conference, bringing the total to 23):  

“We’re really pleased with the signing today,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. “We were able to add 22 players to the roster. We still have a few more that may come in. We do have some additional numbers that we can take guys, so don’t do your calculations and scare off everybody that we’re recruiting for February because we do have spots left and there are good players out there that we’re very much interested in and are interested in us. 

I think our staff, coaches, did a really good job. A recruiting cycle goes over a long period of time. We built a lot of really good relationships with a lot of really good players. I think we satisfied a lot of needs on our team

247Sports’ John Garcia Jr. contributed to this report. 

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