'I can see it in him': Why Cameron Latu is excited about Alabama transfer Miles Kitselman
Alabama football's Cameron Latu is excited about juco tight end transfer Miles Kitselman.
Latu, the only returning tight end with more than one catch, has the most on-field experience in the tight end room by a wide margin.
It appeared the Crimson Tide signed three tight ends in the class of 2022. But Alabama found Kitselman on a trip to see his Hutchinson Community College teammate in May.
Kitselman, at 6-foot-6, 250 pounds, and fellow 2022 signees Amari Niblack, Danny Lewis Jr. and Elijah Brown have the opportunity to make immediate impacts with a strong performance when practice starts in August.
"Fast learner, he has leadership tendencies," Latu said about Kitselman at the Nike Football Skills Camp at Hillcrest High School. "I can see it in him. I can't stop saying he's a fast learner. Dude picked it up day one. That's crazy. I can just tell he's going to be growing tremendously fast throughout this year. His strides through the next few years, I feel like, are going to be crazy if he continues to work how he works."
Only one year removed from high school, Kitselman is a former offensive tackle and defensive end, where he had 99 tackles and 10 for loss as a senior at Lyndon High in Kansas.
Latu had a unique route to the Alabama tight end room, too. He stepped on campus as an outside linebacker and defensive end after signing with Alabama in the class of 2018.
It took Latu three seasons before getting significant snaps at tight end. Latu had his breakthrough with consistency and discipline, he said. He finished with 26 catches for 410 yards and eight touchdowns receiving in 2021.
Kitselman could have a similar road ahead.
"I think he's in a perfect situation coming from a JUCO," Latu said. "He's hungry. To come from a juco to a school like Alabama, I feel like any person would be like, 'Wow I'm here.' He's got that fire in him. He's hungry to get better every day. I'm excited to play with him. It's going to be fun."
Alabama has a new tight ends coach in Joe Cox, who was the Charlotte 49ers tight ends coach in 2021 and is a former Georgia quarterback.
"Bama didn't even know who I was," Kitselman told the Tuscaloosa News in May. "I was working with the wide receivers in pre-practice, and then all of a sudden they were like, 'Hey, who's this No. 87? Is he a big wide receiver or is he a tight end working with wide receivers?'
"Just went from there. Luckily Alabama needed a tight end. A lot of the situations (with colleges recruiting my position), it doesn't even matter how good you are. If a team is set on tight ends they're not even going to look at you. Lord willing, Alabama needed a tight end, I was available and they chose me, so I just committed on the spot."
Jerell Rushin is a recruiting reporter for the Tuscaloosa News and the USA TODAY Network. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @JerellRushin_.