Cory Whitsett, the 2007 U.S. Junior Amateur champion, is going to Alabama.
Among the many reasons for choosing the school, one stuck out, he said.
“I was pretty intrigued by the fact that they have never won the national championship,” Whitsett said. “I felt like it was the right place to make a definite impact.”
The 17-year-old high school junior from Houston is No. 2 in the Golfweek/Titleist Junior Rankings. Last summer, he won the Western Junior and the AJGA’s Rolex Tournament of Champions. In February at the elite Jones Cup Invitational, a biennial amateur event played the same year as the Walker Cup, Whitsett tied for seventh.
Whitsett said Oklahoma State and Texas A&M also were on his short list, but Alabama’s “laid-back atmosphere” won him over.
“I took a long time and looked at it from every angle, and I felt most comfortable at Alabama,” he said.
Whitsett called Crimson Tide coach Jay Seawell Monday morning to deliver the news.
“He was in a little disbelief,” Whitsett said. “We really hadn’t been communicating much. It was a little out of the blue for him.”
Coaches are prohibited by NCAA rules from talking about a recruit until after a signed grant-in-aid has been received by the school.
Whitsett said he will “definitely’’ formalize his commitment in writing in November during the NCAA’s early-signing period and plans to enroll in fall 2010.
Whitsett’s commitment hasn’t been the only good news lately for Alabama. Bobby Wyatt, the second-ranked player in the Class of 2010, also gave Seawell his verbal commitment earlier this year.
Alabama, No. 11 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, won the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate in October. The Crimson Tide has finished seventh and eighth, respectively, in their two spring events this year.
The Crimson Tide has reached the NCAA Championship 10 times in program history, finishing a school-best third in 1975. Alabama finished sixth in 2007 and 13th in ’08.
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Dan Mirocha is a Golfweek assistant editor. To reach him e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.