Alabama Crimson Tide freshman Jaheim Oatis is turning heads in fall camp. The Mississippi native revealed on Twitter in July that he was heading to Tuscaloosa down 70 pounds. And his hard work has caught the attention of his teammates and coaches.
Linebacker Will Anderson told reporters on Monday, “I’m very excited about Jaheim. He’s great. He comes to work everyday, he’s a hard worker and a lot of big things they would complain about being that big and having to lose that type of weight. But he came here head down, worked hard, lost the weight. He’s moving good.”
On July 27, Oatis tweeted, “Yes sir I was 416 now I’m 342 .. yes sir I’m putting the work in 🙌🏾 … I’m ready to show the world Sir ! #RollTide #freshmanYearLoading.”
Anderson Said He Gets Distracted Watching Oatis on Film, Saying He’s ‘Like a Steel Wall
“For a guy that size to move like that. It’s crazy. Sometimes I get distracted watching film, watching him take on blocks. And he’s like a steel wall. He’s not moving and get it’s the back field like this fast,” Anderson, snapping his fingers, told reporters during a Monday press conference. “It’s great watching him.”
Oatis, who is 6 foot 5, starred at Columbia High School in Mississippi and was ranked as one of the top high school players in state and one of the best defensive lineman in his class nationwide, according to the Alabama football website. Oatis picked the Tide over Mississippi State, Ole Miss and LSU. In high school, Oatis even kicked off at times.
Oatis said Alabama has been his “dream school,” according to the Mississippi Clarion Ledger, pointing out that Alabama head coach Nick Saban offered him a scholarship when he was in the eighth grade.
Defensive Coordinator Pete Golding Also Had High Praise for Oatis’ Transformation
Tide defensive coordinator Pete Golding told reporters about Oatis on August 7, “For Jaheim, obviously he’s from Mississippi so I recruited Jaheim, to see his transformation over a four-year period, because Jaheim first came to camp here in the eighth grade, and got an offer in eighth grade, and obviously you can see spurts throughout his high school career that he can be really special. And you can see a lot of plays where he’s taking a play off.”
Golding added, “The most exciting thing for me with Jaheim, is he’s always been a great kid, but when he accepted to come to Alabama he knew what it was going to take. He knew it was going to be hard. He could have went to a lot of other places where he wouldn’t have been asked to do what he’s going to do here. And he knew weight was the biggest thing.”
Golding said the strength and conditioning and nutrition programs at Alabama were one of the main reasons Oatis decided to come to Alabama. “To be able to develop him to get him down to where he needed to be to play winning football,” Golding said. “And he’s done an unbelievable job of that. So I’m excited about him.”
Saban was asked about Oatis on August 5 and said, “I am pleased with several of our guys. We’ve almost eliminated a lot of weight issues, which comes from a scientific approach. Not me looking at a guy and saying he needs to lose 10 pounds, but muscle mass, body fat, correlation that helps a guy be most efficient. I’m pleased with the way a lot of our big guys have sort of got that into balance.”
Saban added, “I think it’s contributing to them being better football players and I’m pretty pleased with the overall team improvements that we’ve made from that standpoint as well as explosive movements and speed.”
Alabama starts its 2022 season at home against Utah State on September 3. The game is set to kickoff at 7:30 p.m.