Samford signs county football stars

Published 11:21 am Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Ever since Samford head coach Pat Sullivan took over as the Bulldogs program for the Class of 2007, he has recruited Shelby County strong. Last year’s large class of all-county talent showed that Sullivan respects local talent, the signing of three other stars last week shows it even more.

Of the 10 players signed by the Bulldogs on Feb. 4, nine were from Alabama and five from the Birmingham metro area.

“We wanted to sign, number one good people and number two good football players,” Sullivan said at his signing day press conference. “We always start here at campus and try to work out from here and I think we did a great job this year.”

One of the biggest steals was signing Pelham free safety Alvin Hines, who had pre-season offers from Auburn University and the University of Kentucky.

“We think Alvin is a heck of a football player. There are some others that we got that we competed for but Alvin is truly a heck of an athlete, and he’s a great person. Obviously, we are proud to have him,” Sullivan said.

Hines, who was featured on the cover of the Shelby County Reporter’s Football Guide, was rated the 29th best prospect in the state of Alabama by and the No. 45 safety in the country. As a senior, Hines recorded 130 tackles, including 70 solo tackles, and had three interceptions. In three years as a starter for the Pelham Panthers, Hines had 280 tackles and nine interceptions.

Another star signee was the Shelby County Reporter Football Player of the Year, Darion Sutton of Shelby County High School.

Sutton, who was being recruited by Southern Mississippi, Marshall and UAB, visited Samford in the final weeks before signing day and committed just days before inking his National Letter of Intent in the SCHS library.

“Darion is a heck of an athlete who has played both sides of the ball. You see the athletic ability he has, the quality of a person he is and we couldn’t be happier to have him.” Sullivan said.

While Sutton made a name for himself as Shelby County’s main rushing attack in their 11-1 season, Sullivan confirmed at the press conference that Sutton will lineup at linebacker for the Bulldogs. He recorded six sacks during his senior season, while rushing for 1,675 yards on offense. He had 972 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns as a senior.

The earliest county player to commit to Samford was Oak Mountain offensive lineman George Allers.

“George is a big offensive lineman, and his future is ahead of him. He has good feet and we are tickled to death to have him,” Sullivan said. “He is a basketball player and that shows his athletic ability.”

Allers, who stands at 6-foot-4 and 275 pounds, recorded more than 100 pancake blocks in his two seasons starting at left guard for the Eagles. He chose Samford over Navy, Furman, Georgia Southern and Southern Mississippi.

While, the Samford class was small in numbers, Sullivan said it fulfilled a lot of needs, especially with Hines and Sutton.

“This year was not a year for us to have a lot of numbers, because of our last two signing classes,” Sullivan said. “We feel like we accomplished what we set out to accomplish. I think this is another class on par with the other two we have had since we’ve been here, and it should help keep the future of Samford football bright.”