Rick Bragg called it “pretty writing.” The Pulitzer Prize winner and University of Alabama writing professor, the one who made his name in the writing world at the foot of … Continue reading Pretty Words, Pretty Birds
By Gary Lloyd
Pierce Quick is living up to his last name.
The Hewitt-Trussville (Alabama) offensive lineman was the quickest Class of 2019 player to commit to the University of Alabama, making his pledge in April 2017. He remained the only Class of 2019 player committed to the Crimson Tide until December 2017.
Now, the floodgates are open, and the Tide is rolling in.
Quick, from Trussville, Alabama, is leading the charge for the 2019 recruiting class for the Crimson Tide. As of this post, Alabama holds thirteen commitments and the No. 1 class in the country, according to the 247Sports Composite.
“With this 2019 class, I want to build the most well-rounded class Coach (Nick) Saban has ever had,” Quick said. “And I feel like we are on the right track to do it.”
Quick, an avid baseball fan, knows how to build a roster. He has been actively recruiting high school prospects from across Alabama and the country to take their talents to Tuscaloosa. It’s working. Of the thirteen Crimson Tide commitments, three are offensive linemen, two are defensive ends, two are quarterbacks, two are linebackers, two are defensive tackles, one is a cornerback, and one is an athlete. Six of the thirteen hail from Alabama, while the remaining seven commitments come from New Jersey, Maryland, Georgia, Mississippi, and Kentucky.
According to the 247Sports Composite, Alabama’s average rating for the 2019 class is 0.9437, better than any other class in Saban’s tenure. Alabama finished first in the 247Sports Composite rankings every year from 2011 through 2017. The Crimson Tide finished sixth in 2018.
“I think in the great classes in the past the reason they were great is because they did have someone recruiting like I am,” Quick said.
Quick is Tweeting at fellow recruits and texting the ones he knows. He may be pestering them as much as college coaches and recruiting reporters, who hound prospects about official visits and commitment timelines.
“I never really had a problem with any reporters through the whole process,” said Quick, who shut down his recruitment in March 2018 to focus on building the 2019 class for Alabama. “I understand it’s their job to try and break stories before anyone else.”
Quick has also mastered the art of the news tease. He recently responded to a recruiting reporter’s Tweet asking for Alabama recruiting questions by posting, “Will Bama fans be as excited as I am about this next commit?”
Quick earned twenty-four scholarship offers during his recruitment. At one point, he was receiving an “unreal” amount of at least twenty letters per day from universities. That is an overflowing mailbox.
“I have a huge box just filled with most of them right now,” he said. “And the phone calls were unreal, too. Some of my friends would always get mad at me because no matter what everywhere we went I was always having to call a coach.”
Despite all those offers, Quick knew that if an offer came from Alabama, he was headed to Tuscaloosa.
“I knew it was Bama just because of the fact that it’s always been a childhood dream of mine to play there,” he said.
Through the recruiting whirlwind, Quick said focusing on his Hewitt-Trussville High School team was easy because of his love for the game. Focusing on school proved difficult, as it does for most teenagers. Quick keeps his priorities straight, though.
“The most important thing to me is my faith and my family because that is what got me where I am,” he said.
Now, he has a senior season to play, on one of likely to be the best Hewitt-Trussville High School teams in school history. This year’s team includes seven players with scholarship offers from Southeastern Conference schools. Three – Quick, quarterback Paul Tyson, and wide receiver Dazalin Worsham – are committed to the Crimson Tide.
It’s hard to go against the Tide.
MOODY, Ala. — Gary Lloyd has released his fourth book, Valley Road: Uplifting Stories from Down South.
The book is broken down into three parts: People, Places and Play.
In the People section, Lloyd tells stories of inspirational people, from a BMX stunt team motivating a school of elementary students to a man with severe Alzheimer’s miraculously remembering how to play a specific song on the piano.
In the Places section, Lloyd takes readers on a heartening and descriptive ride through the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, to the concrete jungle of New York City, to the Green Monster at Fenway Park, to the azaleas at Augusta National Golf Club, and many places in between.
In the Play section, high school coaches from around the Southeast tell their favorite stories, words that have never made the Sports section of their local newspapers. In exclusive interviews with Lloyd, they talk about why they became coaches, about basketball saving lives, about baseball players gathering for Bible studies, about a serve-others-first mentality.
“This has been a book I wanted to put together for a long time,” Lloyd said. “So much focus these days is on the 24-hour news networks, the horrible things that people say and do. I believe this is a book that many people need to read these days. They need to know that life in the 21st century is about much more than political debates, riots and negativity. This book is a collection of stories about the good in the world, about undisturbed land in Ellijay, Georgia, about ‘Stop For Prayer’ signs in the Wal-Mart parking lot, about a man retiring after more than fifty years in city service pleading for his wife to be thanked publicly for her support.”
Former University of Alabama quarterback Jay Barker, who led the Crimson Tide to the 1992 national championship, praised Valley Road.
“Gary shows in this book how coaches, youth pastors and community leaders truly impact the people around them and in turn impact communities in such a positive way. Each chapter demonstrates the positive impact of such people and reminds me of how such people have impacted my life, and encourages me and others to do the same. This book is a must read and one that hopefully encourages us all to realize the impact we can have on the people around us.”
Sean Dietrich, the author of seven books about life in the American South, also commented on the book.
“Gary Lloyd writes with fervor that leaves the reader feeling something akin to a plate of blackberry cobbler—with vanilla ice cream, of course. This book, and Gary himself, are gems in this world.”
Valley Road was published through CreateSpace Independent Publishing. The book is available on www.Amazon.com for $10 and on Kindle as an e-book for $7.99.
Lloyd is also the author of Trussville, Alabama: A Brief History, published by The History Press in 2014. He has also written two novels, Deep Green and Heart of the Plate, also available on Amazon.com.
Lloyd has been a journalist in Mississippi and Alabama. He grew up in Trussville, Ala., and earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from The University of Alabama in 2009. He lives in Moody, Ala., with his wife, Jessica, and their two dogs, Abby and Sonny.
The last two days have flown by, and they have been awesome.
I spent much of Tuesday and Wednesday in Tuscaloosa, Ala., speaking to a couple reporting classes at the College of Communication & Information Sciences, as well as at the Tuscaloosa Public Library to the Tuscaloosa Christian Writers Group.
I appreciate Dr. George Daniels, the assistant dean of the college, inviting me to Tuscaloosa for the opportunity.
On Tuesday, I spoke with the JN-315 Advanced Reporting class, taught by Scott Parrott. The students were attentive and asked great questions about researching, reporting and book writing.
Later Tuesday night, I spoke to the Tuscaloosa Christian Writers Group about the three books I’ve written, and the books to hopefully come in the future.
On Wednesday, I spoke with the JN-311 Reporting class, taught by Kenon Brown. These students, much like the ones in the JN-315 class, paid close attention and took notes while I spoke about reporting strategies and writing books.
I also toured the state-of-the-art Digital Media Center, located inside Bryant-Denny Stadium. It is an amazing place, where students gain significant real-world experience. It is very impressive.
My two-day trip wrapped up Wednesday with a studio interview with Dr. Daniels at the Faculty Resource Center inside Gordon Palmer Hall. Dr. Daniels interviewed me about my life as a journalist, editor and author. The interview will soon be available on the college’s website and on iTunes by searching “Journalism On The Go.”
What a fun two-day trip it was. I can’t wait for the next one.
I’ll end this blog post the same way I ended the studio interview: Roll Tide.
An incredible opportunity has presented itself, and I couldn’t be more excited.
On July 26-27, I will be in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, for two reasons:
- I’ll be speaking to the Tuscaloosa Christian Writers Group at the Tuscaloosa Public Library on Tuesday, July 26 at 6:30 p.m.
- I’ll also be speaking about news reporting and book writing to the Reporting and Advanced Reporting classes at the University of Alabama’s College of Communication and Information Sciences both days.
I have Dr. George Daniels, the assistant dean of the college, to thank for the invitation and opportunity.
I will also be recording a studio interview about my books and work as a journalist for future use in journalism classes at UA.
How cool is that?