Why St. James 4-star receiver Shazz Preston signed with Alabama football over LSU, others

Nick Gray
The Courier

Shazz Preston had a very succinct answer when asked why he'd go to Alabama.

"Because, why not Bama?" Preston said with a laugh.

He has a point. Alabama football has continued to turn elite wide receiver recruits into top college and NFL pass catchers since coach Nick Saban has been in Tuscaloosa, and Preston will be next up.

Preston, a four-star receiver ranked as the No. 43 overall player in the 2022 class per the 247Sports Composite, signed with the Crimson Tide over in-state LSU, Texas and USC in a ceremony at St. James High School Wednesday.

The 6-foot, 190-pound receiver took an official visit to Alabama on Dec. 10, and he made his decision Tuesday night after discussing with his family.

"They have the right system for me," Preston said. "The coaching staff showed a lot of love, and the system was perfect for me."

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Julio Jones. Amari Cooper. Calvin Ridley. Jerry Jeudy. Jameson Williams. The Crimson Tide receivers' room has seen a lot of talent. Preston wants to be next. He'll have plenty of competition, with at least two other receivers in the 2022 class plus current freshman receivers Ja'Corey Bryant and Jojo Earle and sophomore Traeshon Holden already making their mark in Tuscaloosa. 

"I'm going there with the mindset of going three-and-out," he said. "The first day, I have to make a big impact in practice. I have to come hungry."

Preston did have an in-home visit with new LSU assistant Frank Wilson last week before his trip to Tuscaloosa. Wilson, a former LSU assistant and recruiting coordinator under Les Miles, has known the Preston family for years. It was one of Wilson's first in-home visits in his new role.

The LSU coaching change had Preston in a wait-and-see mode, though he noted new LSU coach Brian Kelly's "winning mindset". Wilson's pitch did give Preston and his family something to think about.

"He really put the pressure on me," Preston said. 

St. James receiver Shazz Preston signed with Alabama on Dec. 15. His parents Shawn Preston Sr. and Lori Preston look on.

But Saban and Alabama's track record and play style won out. 

"Nick Saban is one of the coolest coaches that I've ever been around," Preston said with a laugh. "For now."

"He's very chill, laid back. He's a funny guy, actually. Not really a serious type. We had a good time when he came around ... what people say about him is true."