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Over the past few years, the Alabama Crimson Tide football program has shown less and less attention to players from its own backyard that may or may not scream blue chip from the get go. Since 2009, Alabama has failed to sign more than 10 in-state players in its signing class. What many fail to realize is the 2008 class that produced 18 of the 32 signed players from the state of Alabama played major roles in the three national championships in 2009, 2011, and 2012.

One of those players the Tide appears to be overlooking is 4-star DT Darius Whitfield out of St. Paul’s High School in Mobile, Alabama. For years, Mobile has been a hotbed of recruits and many coaches from all across the country flock to the gulf coast to hopefully steal some of the state’s best talent.

Whitfield spoke with us recently and gave his reasons why he’s an elite prospect and talked about his recruiting. “I have 30 offers so far. I have offers from Tennessee, Florida, South Carolina, Missouri, LSU, and more.” As for Alabama? “Bama is not recruiting me for real.” Hard to imagine a player with the caliber of Whitfield not receiving the love from his home state school while the rest of the SEC is taking notice.

The 6-foot-1 270 pound Whitfield has been working on a lot of things this offseason to prepare himself and his team for another state championship run. “I’ve been working on speed and agility because I’ve been putting on weight. I’m fast to be so big and explosive, I try to be relentless every play.”

Whitfield has high expectations for the Saints football team this year. “I’m expecting a lot from this team because we have talent and chemistry. I expect us to repeat but we just take one game at a time.”

Playing college football is a goal most high school football players have, and the same goes for Whitfield, but he made it clear his family has more important aspirations besides football. “Education always comes first. My mom stresses academics, and playing time next.”

While it doesn’t appear Whitfield is in a rush to make a decision, he still wouldn’t mind hearing from the state’s top schools. “(If Alabama offered) it would mean the same as the others, but it’s your in-state school, so I guess a little more — but the two in-state schools are not recruiting me for real.”

Brandon Williams is an Editor and Columnist for Touchdown AlabamaYou can follow him on Twitter, @BWilliamsTDAL, “Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google.

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