Barry Sanders, Jr. Discusses College Future

Thursday, July 28th 2011, 5:48 pm
By: News On 6

Originally Published: Sep 30, 2010 9:36 PM CDT

Related: Alabama Coach Nick Saban Visits Heritage Hall
Related: Sanders: Alabama running back Mark Ingram to enter NFL Draft

Corey DeMoss
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer

OKLAHOMA CITY – Barry Sanders, Jr. carries both the name and natural talent of his Heisman Trophy-winning father, and his college decision is one of the most highly anticipated in the state of Oklahoma.

Sanders is being pursued by many of the nation’s most prestigious football programs, and already has received several scholarship offers. UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisal extended him an offer by phone Saturday, and Sanders also has spoken to Alabama head coach Nick Saban.

“I didn’t really know what to expect,” Sanders said. “I called one of their recruiting coordinators, and he forwarded me to Saban. It was just like talking to any other coach; he made it pretty easy on me. He told me some good things I like to hear, and I hope I can talk to him again soon.”

The Crimson Tide has the nation’s most dangerous backfield duo, featuring Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram and sophomore Trent Richardson. Sanders said one of Saban’s biggest selling points was the recent success of his running backs.

“He told me they get a lot of television exposure, and how Ingram winning the Heisman has a lot to do with it, and how their last four freshmen running backs have gotten some solid playing time,” Sanders said. “That’s very good to hear when you want to play early and make a contribution to the team. He said Tuscaloosa is a great place, and I look forward to going down there to visit.”

Sanders revealed that he has focused his college search on four teams: Alabama, UCLA, Florida State and Oklahoma State. OSU is the alma mater of his father, but Sanders said his family has never pushed him to follow the same path.

“I haven’t really felt much pressure, because my family hasn’t really been pressuring me,” he said. “I think that when people start feeling the pressure, it’s because it’s coming from the family and the people you’re around. But nobody I’m really close with has been pressuring me into it, so I feel like I can go anywhere I want to.”

Sanders already has visited Norman and Stillwater, and also will travel to Dallas Saturday for the Red River Rivalry. He has two out-of-state visits planned – Alabama’s game against Ole Miss on Oct. 16, and the Notre Dame-Navy game the following week – but has not set a timetable for when he will make his decision.

“That’s something I’ll have to think about,” he said. “I’ll go through the process and see who I want to visit, and go from there. I don’t know if I’ll make it before signing day or what, but I’m going to play it by ear."