By Terrin Waack
There wasn’t even a football game going on when Tyrell Shavers fell in love with Bryant-Denny Stadium. It was during the summer, and the University of Alabama safe haven was completely empty.
He still knew. The next chapter of his life was going to take place on that field.
“I just walked in and looked up,” Shavers said. “It was just like lights everywhere. A video was playing. It was crazy.”
The four-star recruit was sold. On June 12, Shavers announced his commitment to UA. He was ready to pack his bags up in Lewisville, Texas, and move to Tuscaloosa, but he had to wait. It wasn’t time to become an Alabama lad just yet.
Now, almost seven months later, Shavers can officially say he’s a member of the Crimson Tide.
“I’m enjoying every moment,” he said.
Although Shavers had other options, there was no wavering in his decision. Not even when word got out that former UA wide receivers coach Billy Napier was leaving for Arizona State. That didn’t matter. Shavers was already Bama bound.
Auburn, Florida State, Georgia, Texas and Texas A&M were among the programs that got the boot.
“Just the atmosphere of people here, I love everything about it,” Shavers said. “I feel like I can get a great education here, too.”
Rated as the No. 24 wide receiver in the nation, Shavers left Lewisville High School after having caught 27 passes for 397 yards and seven touchdowns during his final season. He had 37 receptions for 803 yards and 13 touchdowns the year prior.
Even at the college level, Shavers said he believes his speed and 6-foot-6 stature gives him a height advantage over defensive backs. He has gained 7 pounds already and would like to gain at least 10 more. He said he weighs 205 right now but wants go into the season somewhere between 215 and 220.
Workouts are helping with that. Since there hasn’t been any legit football work yet, those have been the biggest transition – or rather, the biggest reality check.
“We didn’t have a coach for every person,” Shavers said. “If they just told us to do something, we’d do it. But here, you got to do everything right.”
The standard is higher now, but Shavers name-dropped linebacker Mack Wilson and wide receiver Calvin Ridley as some veteran players who have been helping him adjust.
But Shavers isn’t the only rookie. He’s just one of the 11 players who enrolled back in January. Another 14 will join later to complete the 2017 recruiting class that has been rated as No. 1 nationally.
“It’s a great class,” Shavers said. “We broke a record or something like that. It’s unbelievable. I know we’re all going to be ready to work.”
Along with Shavers, Alabama added Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III and Devonta Smith to its receiving corps. Jeudy is also already on campus.
With full knowledge of the Crimson Tide’s high praise, however, there was one thing Shavers wanted to set straight.
“I didn’t come here because they have the No. 1 class every year,” Shavers said. “I came here because I loved the place.”