- Greg Ostendorf, ESPN Staff Writer
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama is headed to its third national championship in four years after an epic clash with Georgia in the SEC championship.
The instant classic made an impression on the top recruits as well.
ATH Derrick Henry (Yulee, Fla./Yulee): “I thought it was a good game. I thought it was one of the best SEC championships that I’ve seen. Both teams fought to the end, and I love seeing something like that. I love seeing both teams hungry for a win. I thought both teams fought really hard.
“Alabama just took control of the game in the second half when they started running the ball and doing what they do. The offensive line was blocking well, and the running backs were breaking tackles and running hard.”
DE DeMarcus Walker (Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood): “It was amazing. I had faith in my team, and like I tell everyone, we thrive off the fourth quarter. That’s our motto, ‘fourth quarter.’”
TE O.J. Howard (Prattville, Ala./ Autauga Academy): “It was a scare for me for a moment, but it was a really good game. At the end, Georgia just ran out of timeouts, and they couldn’t convert. They should’ve just spiked the ball when they got down there in the red zone, but they made a mistake right there. I was pretty relieved, and I was pretty pumped that we get to go to another championship.”
TE Josh McNeil (Durham, N.C./Milford Academy): “Alabama’s offensive line was the factor in the game.”
ATH ArDarius Stewart (Birmingham, Ala./Fultondale): “I knew it was going to be a tough game. It was just what I expected, a tough game, and I’m glad they pulled it off.
“I was on the edge of my seat because I really didn’t know what was going to happen. If Georgia would’ve stopped the clock, I think I would’ve a little bit more worried. When I saw them keep going and let the clock run, trying to get the last play off, I was pretty happy.”
LB Walker Jones (Cordova, Tenn./Evangelical Christian): “That was probably the most stressful Alabama game I’ve ever watched. There were so many points in the game where I really just knew for a fact we were going to win, and then there were so many other points where I just really knew we were going to lose. It was interesting. I’ve never felt like that at an Alabama game. I’m usually pretty calm and know that we’re going to pull it out.”
RB Bo Scarbrough, 2014 (Tuscaloosa, Ala./North Ridge): “I think that like Nick Saban said, the team that runs the ball in the second half will be the team that comes out on top. I think that Alabama did that and played their way in the second half. Georgia had some great opportunities and couldn’t convert on them. I think Alabama played all four quarters and wore down Georgia’s defense.”
With the BCS title game now set between Alabama and Notre Dame, the recruits gave their thoughts on what’s going to happen when the Tide and the Irish meet down in Miami.
Howard: “I think it’s going to be a really good game. Both teams have a lot of time to watch film of each other, so both teams are going to be ready to play each other. I don’t think it’s going to just be a blowout. I think it’s going to be a close one, but I think Bama is going to pull it out by 10 points.”
McNeil: “The key will be the offensive line and opening up the passing game.”
Stewart: “I know Alabama has to prepare. They can’t make as many mistakes as they did in the last game because it’s going to cost them the game. They just have to go in, practice and prepare.”
Jones: “I’m a big SEC fan. I’m a big SEC believer, so I think it is the best conference. I know a lot of people around the country get upset with the SEC bias, but I’m always thinking the SEC is going to prevail, so I’m going to have to stick with us.
“If there was another team that belongs in the SEC, it would be this Notre Dame team because they’re built a lot like an SEC team -- powerful running game, really strong in the front seven. I think it’s going to be a great matchup.”
DE Da’Shawn Hand, 2014 (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge): “I think it’s going to be a defensive game. It’s going to be close, probably like 9-3, one of those types of games because both of their defenses are sick. We’re going to see which offense will come out to play.”
Scarbrough: “I think Alabama is going to win it because of their defense and the SEC thing. I don’t really think Alabama can be beat, which they have been, but not in the national championship. They have too much time to prepare for that team.”
5dSam Khan Jr.