January 18, 2012

Gulledge solid to Tide, set on defense

Caleb Gulledge, a converted defensive end, played along the offensive line all season for Prattville High School, the Class 6A state champions. He played so well, in fact, that Florida State recently offered him a scholarship to play offensive tackle.

However, Gulledge's commitment to the University of Alabama remains solid, and the Crimson Tide still wants him on the defensive side of the ball. The in-state lineman talked about his future with the UA coaches over the weekend on his official visit.

"We just discussed a lot of things about academics and my future position, just how they wanted me to fit in up there," Gulledge said. "Both Coach (Nick) Saban and Coach (Kirby) Smart said they want me to start on the defensive side of the football. Where it goes from there, they don't know, but either way, I plan on having one of the best coaches in the football, offensively or defensively."

Gulledge picked up an offer from Alabama to play defense after his performance at one of the Crimson Tide's camps the summer before his junior year. The UA coaching staff hasn't forgotten that camp or the skills he possesses on defense.

"The summer going into my junior year, I actually went up there for a football camp," Gulledge said. "I went up against one of the top tackles in the country, and I beat him two out of three times and gave him a run for his money the other time.

"They were real impressed. They said I had a real quick get-off and that I used my hands well, and they offered me as a defensive end. That's what they wanted me for all along."

Florida State recently started talking to Gulledge, and he also considered a visit to LSU, but now he's decided to shut down the recruiting process.

"Some schools are trying to contact me, but I've kind of cut off everything," Gulledge said. "I'm committed to Alabama, and that's where I'll be attending college. I'm trying to cut everything off. I made a call to the Florida State coach and told him I'm set on Alabama. That's just where I need to be."

On his official visit, Gulledge and his family toured the facilities, and he also got a chance to hang out with some of the current Alabama players and meet a number of fellow commitments from the Crimson Tide's 2012 class.

"I met T.J. Yeldon and Ryan Anderson," Gulledge said. "I got a chance to speak with them. I met Dee Hart and Brian Vogler. I talked to some of those guys, went to the dorms and hung out a little bit. It was just great meeting new guys and hanging out with them, knowing those are my teammates next year."

The Prattville star plans on rooming with defensive tackle Darren Lake, one of the larger members of UA's recruiting class, when he gets to Tuscaloosa this summer.

Reach Greg Ostendorf at greg@tidesports.com.

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