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Well, if former Texas A&M quarterback commitment Eli Holstein had a Name, Image & Likeness (NIL) deal – or a potential deal – with the Aggies, he doesn’t have it anymore.
Holstein (6-foot-4, 220 pounds), who is the No. 5 pro style quarterback in the nation by Rivals.com, announced on Tuesday that he has committed to Alabama after decommitting from the Aggies on March 18.
This is less than a week after Alabama coach Nick Saban said A&M coach Jimbo Fisher “bought every player” in the Aggies’ No. 1-ranked signing class of last February via NIL deals.
Saban has yet to provide any proof of that comment and was repeating an Internet chat room story by someone using the name “Sliced Bread” that circulated shortly after signing day on Feb. 2 and has been picking up steam ever since.
Fisher fired back in memorable fashion.
“Go dig into how God (Saban) did his deal and you may find things out about a guy you didn’t want to know,” Fisher said.
Funny, a popular nickname for Saban by non-fans has been “Satan” for decades.
“We build him up to be the czar of football,” said Fisher, who was Saban’s offensive coordinator at LSU from 2000-04 with a national title in the 2003 season that was the first of Saban’s seven – six at Alabama.
“We never bought anybody, no rules were broken, nothing was done wrong,” Fisher said, and then Saban have it. “It’s despicable that a reputable head coach can come out and say this when he doesn’t get his way. The narcissist in him doesn’t allow those things to happen, and it’s ridiculous when he’s not on top.”
Saban lost the national championship last season to Georgia and coach Kirby Smart, who was Saban’s defensive coordinator at Alabama for four national titles from 2009-15 and coached under him with Fisher at LSU in 2004 and in 2006 under Saban with the Miami Dolphins.
And Saban lost the 2022 signing class national title to Fisher as Saban’s class finished second.
Fisher also became the first former Saban assistant to beat him as a head coach last season. Saban was 24-0 against his pupils before that game. Then Smart became the second.
But now Saban has Holstein, who threw for 3,264 yards and 30 touchdowns as a junior last season at Zachary High near Baton Rouge. Holstein, a four-star prospect and the No. 51 overall recruit in the nation by Rivals.com, committed to the Aggies on June 25, 2021. He did not say if his decision to pledge to Alabama for the class of 2023 had anything to do with the feud between Saban and Fisher.
This appeared to be a decision that played out over months – until Tuesday. Did Saban push the issue?
“Bama consistently recruited me for a long time,” Holstein told the Baton Rouge Advocate Tuesday. “And Bama’s Bama. They produce great quarterbacks.”
Sophomore Bryce Young became the first quarterback in Alabama history to win the Heisman Trophy last season. Quarterback Mac Jones led Alabama to the national championship in the 2020 season and was a first round pick of the New England Patriots in 2021 and became their starter last season.
LSU and Florida have also been recruiting Holstein.