Albert Huggins on recruiting: 'I'm handling it my way'

dmclemore@thestate.comJuly 31, 2013 

Orangeburg-Wilkinson junior Albert Huggins never imagined he would be a top-ranked football prospect for his class.

Now that he is a top target for a number of major colleges, Huggins is enjoying the ride.

The 6-foot-4, 279-pound defensive tackle has more than 10 offers, and they are big ones: Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Florida State, South Carolina and Clemson, among others.

Huggins is a five-star prospect, according to the 247Composite ranking that factors in all networks. ESPN and 247Composite rank him No. 1 in South Carolina for 2015; the 247Sports network has him No. 2, behind USC defensive end commitment Shameik Blackshear of Bluffton.

He took part last weekend in South Carolina's Black Magic showcase camp.

How is the recruiting process going and are you thinking about it at this point?

It has been going great. I've been thinking about it. All the schools are trying their best to get me. Hopefully when it's my time, they can get me.

Have you always been a top prospect?

My ninth grade year, I wasn't all that. My 10th grade year I started to play better. I got stronger. I started to become dedicated to the game. It has all unfolded just this year. It has been a great year.

Have you always played defense?

My eighth, ninth and 10th grade year. My eighth grade year I played offensive tackle. I played defensive end my ninth grade year. Now I'll play defensive end this year and defensive tackle.

And you project as a defensive tackle in college?

I don't really know. I could lose weight. I'll see how it is.

Your Twitter handle is @Im_The_Hulk ... what's the meaning of that?

I bench 370-something and I'm just turning 16, so I'm the Hulk at my school. Everybody calls me Big Bert too.

Talk about the instate schools and what you know and like about them.

Both of them are great programs. The atmosphere, I've been to a USC game and Clemson game. Both have the best fans ever. Even when they are losing they have the best fans ever. I like that. I really do. They have great environments. Clemson is more of a godly school, but USC has some of the best features just as Clemson does.

And you haven't named favorites, have you?

I try to keep an open mind about all the recruiting process and let everybody try to win me over so I can give everybody a chance.

How do you balance being a big recruit with being a normal high school teenager?

You've got to stay humble. If you don't stay humble it will eat you up.

Talk about your relationship with Shameik Blackshear (who has already committed to USC).

We've become great friends. We talk every now and then. I try to talk to him as much as possible to keep up with his process and he can keep up with my process and try to update everything. I try to update everything, ask about his offers and he asks me about my offers. We talk about school and how great it feels to be No. 1 and No. 2 in the state.

How does it feel to be No. 1 and 2?

It feels great to know that you're No. 1 or No. 2 out of everybody in south Carolina. It's a blessing.

Are you surprised that Blackshear committed already?

I was very surprised. I talked to him that night actually and he was like, 'It's the best fit for me.' God has a plan for everybody. Hopefully he made the right decision and put it in God's hands, and everything will work out.

Are you OK with Shameik recruiting you for the next two years?

It doesn't matter to me. It really doesn't. He's a great kid. He has a great mind. His attitude toward everything is great. He is a humble kid. I back his decision 100 percent that he committed to USC.

He is one of more than 60 rising juniors that have already committed to a college. Is there any pressure on you to commit early?

I'm handling it my way. I'm Albert Huggins and nobody else. Nobody else.

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