Saban Sighting

Nick Saban visits North Forest’s football program

Nick Saban and Clifton Terrell Vype

Originally appeared on Vype.com

As a high school football player if there’s any college coach you want looking at you it’s Nick Saban.

After winning his sixth national championship a few weeks ago, he’s now considered arguably the greatest college football coach of all-time.

Saban came down to North Forest High School recently with his eyes set on junior offensive tackle Javonne Shepherd and sophomore receiver Demond Demas.

“Saban didn’t get to meet with them,” Clifton Terrell, North Forest’s head coach said. “But he told me that Alabama wanted to offer both of them scholarships.”

Saban’s time on North Forest campus was spent by watching film on Shepherd and Demas plus talking with coaches and the school principal.

The back story of Shepherd and Demas getting recruited by Alabama is that the two were brought to Saban’s attention from a new assistant coach that was once recruiting Shepherd and Demas from a different school.

The assistant coach saw Shepherd and Demas' talent at a football camp and has been trying to recruit them ever since.

Once the assistant coach made the switch over to Alabama, he kept urging Saban to take a look at the two players.

Other programs that have passed through North Forest recently have been Texas A&M and the University of Houston. Ole Miss and Tennessee are scheduled to come to the school in weeks ahead.

Though Saban was only offering Shepherd and Demas a scholarship it was definitely inspiring for the other players to see him on campus.

“I hope this encourages all the players to keep working hard,” Terrell said. “As coaches we’re just trying to keep them focus and make sure we don’t let them fail and do anything to lose the opportunities they’re being blessed with.”

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Walter will host The Night of Champions. Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images.

In 2014, Austin Walter rushed for 2,704 yards and 34 touchdowns as a senior at Crosby High School. Despite falling short of a state title, Walter was named District 19-4A MVP and finished his prep career with a little over 6,000 rushing yards on 613 carries (6,062 yds). Seven years later, Walter will be returning to his high school alma mater to give back to the community that laid the foundation for an NFL career as a member of the San Francisco 49ers.

"It's a blessing to be able to come from a small town and be one of the guys who made it out," Walter said. "Not a lot of people made it to the NFL or the NBA from Crosby High School. To be one of the first, it's an amazing feeling. It's a blessing and an honor."

On Thursday, April 15, Walter will host The Night of Champions to benefit the Crosby High School Booster Club from 6-9 p.m. The event will be a weight lifting competition at Crosby High School for student-athletes around the area to showcase their talents and abilities.

In addition to hosting a weight lifting showcase, Walter will also share his life teachings with student-athletes in attendance. Perseverance and not taking no for an answer will be one of the most vital messages the Crosby native will share with aspiring pro-athletes. It's the two virtues Walter has leaned on from little league football to the NFL. And as an undrafted prospect in 2019, it was that same morale that helped him outshine six other running backs during the 49ers rookie training camp that same year.

"Before I started playing football in high school, a lot of people thought I was too small," Walter said. "They thought because we played little league and not in middle school we would not make it in high school. My twin brother [Ashton Walter] and I did not listen to that. We just kept pushing forward."

"When I left Rice, people thought I was going to play in the Canadian league or AFF, and I did not take no for an answer. I believed in myself. And I believed in God. And if I can make it out of a small town like Crosby, anybody can make it...It's the mentality I've had my entire life of not quitting. I feel like that is what got me to the point I am at right now."

Whether their life goal is to play in the NFL or not, Walter's primary objective for The Night of Champions is to be an inspiration and show kids they can find success despite their environment. It is one of the things the former XFL running back (Dallas Renegades) wished he would have seen growing up in Crosby.

After graduating from Crosby High School, Walter went on to have a record-breaking collegiate career at Rice University. He became one of two players in school history to rush for over 1,500 yards (1,744 yds.) and 1,000 kick return yards (1,548 yds.) in four seasons with the Owls. In February, Walter signed a one-year contract extension to re-join the 49ers ahead of the 2021 NFL season.

Click here to learn more about The Night of Champions at Crosby High School or support Walter and the Crosby High School Booster Club.

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