By Doug Gorman
Jonesboro offensive lineman Darius McKeller loves football.
It's a good thing, because he is about to eat, breath and sleep the sport after signing a letter of intent to one of the most historic programs in the country- the University of Alabama.
McKeller will report to Alabama later this summer.
It's only through fate that McKeller is about to join the Crimson Tide Nation.
Had current football coach Clint Satterfield not convinced McKeller to come out for the team three years ago when he was first named head coach, this day might not have ever come for the Cardinals' offensive lineman.
"He had never played football," Satterfield said. "He was a basketball player, and I told him to give football a try, and if he didn't like it, I wasn't going to put pressure on him."
Football was a perfect fit for the offensive lineman who is 6-5, 280--pounds.
McKeller is grateful for the opportunity and excited about getting the chance to play in the SEC.
Still he knows he has work to do if he wants to contribute to the program which showed interest early.
"Back then, I didn't think I was going to get any big time schools," he said. "Alabama was the first school to give me any attention. I wasn't really expecting it. I would love to play right away, but I might benefit by getting redshirted."
He joins an Alabama program coached by Nick Saban.
In two years as head coach of the Crimson Tide, Saban has restored the glory at Alabama, again making the college football program from Tuscaloosa a contender for a national title.
The Jonesboro senior helped lead head coach Clint Satterfield's Cardinals to the playoffs for the first time since 2002. The Cardinals finished the season with a 7-5 record, including an 18-17 win against Hephzibah.
McKeller becomes the second highly-touted football player from the Southern Crescent to sign with Alabama in recent years. Last season, former Henry County wide receiver Chris Jackson signed with Alabama.
His spent his freshman year as a member Alabama's special teams.