Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Recruiting battles between college football programs can be every bit as intense as the games that take place on the gridiron during fall Saturdays.

But the University of Alabama didn’t have too tough a time hooking Oak Mountain lineman Scott Deaton.

The standout senior grew up an Alabama fan, and his father, Ken Deaton, was a center for the Crimson Tide.

Throw in the fact that Deaton wants to major in business at Alabama’s highly regarded business school and his decision to join the Tide comes as no big surprise.

Deaton became the third Shelby County prospect to make a verbal committment to a Division I football program when he announced his intentions to Bama coaches at the Western Carolina game.

&uot;I just wanted to concentrate on the season and not have to worry about phone calls and standing up and speaking about it. I just wanted to get it over with,&uot; Deaton said. &uot;My parents and I were comfortable with the decision.&uot;

Deaton’s committment won’t be officially binding until he signs a National Letter of Intent on Feb. 2, National Signing Day.

A starter at left tackle for the Eagles, Deaton is projected as an interior lineman in college. He said he will work hard in the offseason to gain weight and add strength in his lower body.

Oak Mountain coach Jerry Hood believes Deaton is a prototypical D-1 recruit.

&uot;He’s got a lot of physical tools,&uot; Hood said. &uot;He can run and he’s got really long arms. The good Lord blessed him with some really good genes.&uot;

In the mean time Deaton will focus on leading the Eagles as they face the remainder of the schedule.

&uot;Scott really cares about football,&uot; Hood said. &uot;He’s stepped up and matured. I’ve

enjoyed seeing him grow as a player.&uot;

Shelby County’s top Divison I football recruits:

Scott Deaton (6-5, 270): OL, Oak Mountain. Verbally committed to Alabama earlier this season.

Montez Billings (6-3, 175): WR, Pelham. Has not committed.

Charles Hoke (6-7, 240): WR/TE, Briarwood. Has not committed.

Andrew McCain (6-6, 260): DE, Briarwood. Verbally ommitted to Auburn earlier this season.

Tyler Grisham (6-0, 185): ATH, Spain Park. Verbally committed to Clemson last season.

Michael Adams (6-5, 218): DE, Pelham. Has not committed.

Brandon Burns (6-5, 200): WR/DB, Shelby County. Has not committed