Today we don our best Sam Spade outfit in search of the McGuffin that is Hunter Brannon.
Many were surprised when Coach Saban extended an offer to the almost-unheard of offensive line prospect out of Cullman. When he signed, we wrote:
Alabama offered Cullman offensive lineman Hunter Brannon, and he didn't take long to make his decision. Brannon announced his commitment to Alabama on Saturday, one day after attending the Crimson Tide's Champions Cookout recruiting event.
That must have been one whale of a cookout. Brannon is something of an unknown at this point, apparently impressing Saban by gaining 30 good pounds and showing out on the camp circuit.
After considerable sleuthing, we were able to unearth sources familiar with Brannon willing to give us an inside scouting report. While our discussions were on the record, anonymity was requested and has been assured. After reading this, you'll have a better understanding as to what Alabama coaches found so attractive in the fast-rising prospect.
On his size, which many fans are concerned about:
"He has added 30+ pounds since last year, and he carries it very well. He still has [physical] growing to do."
"He is still under 300 pounds...that's with the weight he put on. Probably will top out at 310-315."
"Needs some more weightroom time as he is still undersized by 'Bama linemen standards. When was the last time 'Bama started a lineman who's weighed under 300?"
Where he projects along the line:
"He probably will end up at center just because he is light."
"He had been starting at defensive end since he was a sophomore. He's had to literally grow into an offensive lineman."
"Center. 'Bama guards are normally the type of men who need to buy two seats on the airplane."
On eligibility, intelligence, maturity:
"He's good academically. He's on track to graduate by December (of 2016.)"
"For the most part, he is a smart player."
"Brannon is not a maturity savant, but he's not someone who is going to do a bunch of stupid shit. He's basically on the level of most high school kids."
"Really strong kid, old school mentality, loves contact and being physical."
"Very good technique."
"He's a punishing run blocker. He has good feet and a good punch."
We hope you enjoyed this peak into what coaches and players and opponents say about a recruiting prospect. It was fascinating to do, and the information is invaluable for fans looking to know more.
Welcome to the Capstone, Hunter.