The recruitment of Alabama linebacker Brent Calloway, from his very public first flip-flop to Auburn during January’s U.S. Army All-American Game, to his more recent re-flip-flop back to the Tide in the weening hours before signing day, has been interesting to say the least.
The last several days of reports regarding alleged payments made to Calloway’s father with the intent of Calloway signing with Bama and out-of-state furloughs were merely cherries on top.
Now, Calloway’s guardian, Harland “Peaches” Winston*, has come forward to declare Calloway’s trip to Florida with Winston’s friend, Darren Woodruf, was in Calloway’s best interest.
(*Disclaimer: any testimonies given by a man with the nickname “Peaches” should be, and won’t be, taken seriously)
“It dawned on me,” Winston said. “I called him (Woodruff). I said, ‘Do you mind if you let him (Calloway) go up there, put him in a room?’ I told him (Woodruff) I wanted him (Calloway) to pray, I don’t want him (Calloway) to deal with nobody. He (Woodruff) said, ‘It’s fine, man.’ I said, ‘You come pick him up.’
“I know as soon as he stepped on the (Russellville) campus the questions would be asked, ‘Where are you going? What are you doing?’ He didn’t need that,” Winston said. “He had a peace of mind when he came back.”
Shortly after his return from Florida, Calloway informed Winston that he was going to Alabama.
Winston stated that Woodruff had known Calloway for years, and had assisted him since his freshman year of high school with his college recruitment (Alabama’s one-day investigation concluded Woodruff didn’t act as an agent in Calloway’s recruitment, but the NCAA jury might still be out on that one).
A friend of Woodruff’s by the name of John Stancil, when reached by Jeffrey Lee (yes, that one) of AuburnSports.com, gave a similar story.
“(Woodruff) told me Peaches asked him to take Brent out of town — that Brent needed to go somewhere to think about stuff,” said Stancil. “He took Brent down there (to Pensacola) and brought him back to Peaches’ house Tuesday night.”
In context, “Tuesday night” would be the night before signing day — the same time when, according to Peaches himself, Calloway informed him that he would be attending Alabama.
However, in each report, Calloway’s high school coach, Doug Goodwin, says Calloway’s decision to sign with Alabama stunk something fierce.
In the Birmingham News‘ article, Goodwin states “[Calloway is] the only player in 26 years of coaching that I didn’t fax the scholarship in for. The only player I wasn’t allowed to have contact with for four days prior to signing day. That tells me they thought I was trying to push him to Auburn. (Goodwin is a 1984 Auburn graduate.) That’s a slap in the face. That would be unprofessional on my part.”
Goodwin also states in Lee’s story that “Brent texted me back saying, ‘Coach, I gotta go (to Alabama this weekend). My daddy (Peaches) is making me go, but I’m not changing my mind. I am 100-percent sure (about signing with Auburn).’”
As you may recall, Calloways’ family was none to thrilled about Calloway’s highly public switch to Auburn on national television.
“I’m from the old school,” Peaches told The News. “When you shake a man’s hand, look him in the eye and make a commitment, you stick to that commitment. I respect him and I’m going to root for him. But I don’t think he handled it the right way.”
The right way? Something tells me that went out the window a long time ago.