March 1, 2023

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Johnson,

Congratulations! On behalf of the University of Alabama, I would officially like to offer your unborn son a football scholarship. We're very excited about what we've seen in the latest ultrasound, and we can't wait for his arrival on campus sometime in 2041.

We project, based on your family's genetic history, that your son will grow to be 6-4 and 250 pounds -- or even bigger, given the proper nutrition. Our staff will be in touch with a list of recommended mother's milk supplements. We might have to tweak his diet later on, depending on our needs at linebacker vs. offensive line, but as we say around here, that is all part of the Process.

This might be your first experience with prenatal recruiting. Let me explain how we got here.

Ten years ago, in 2013, we offered a scholarship to an eighth-grader named Dylan Moses. It was a no-brainer for us: He was 6-1 and 215 pounds, his highlight reel was spectacular, and his name was Dylan Moses. We went ahead and printed up T-shirts with "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" on one side and "Lead Us To the Promised Land" on the other.

This wasn't the first time a football power had offered a scholarship to a middle-schooler. In fact, Coach Miles at LSU also offered Dylan a scholarship. (As you might know, Coach Miles was dismissed in 2016 after stealing Mike the Tiger and riding him through downtown Baton Rouge. Neither one has ever been found.)

College football is a competitive business, of course, and so other programs started scouting middle-school games. Then we all started gathering Pop Warner game film. Then we built files on boys who looked particularly promising in Red Rover. At one point, many schools would send an assistant to sit on a park bench and take notes on kindergartners as they played on the monkey bars. We still disagree with the judge's decision regarding that practice, but we will abide by the restraining orders.

In the end, we realized we were simply making predictions on which boys would turn out to be five-star football players. So why not take it all the way back to the DNA? The two of you are young and healthy and athletic. Your son couldn't have had better parents for football success if the Crimson Tide itself had bred a quarterback with a cheerleader. (Please refer to The Namath Project on our website for a glimpse at our future plans.)

We ask only a few things of you. Love your son. Teach him the right values. Start him on a weightlifting program as soon as possible (Fisher-Price makes a wonderful starter set). Make sure he keeps up his grades -- our projections show that your son is likely to score between 900 and 1050 on the SAT. Let's push for the high end!

Seriously, don't forget the weightlifting.

We know this must seem strange to you, and maybe even creepy. It might seem, if you look at it in a critical way, that those of us who run college football have taken away any chance for a kid to just be a kid. But coaches in tennis and gymnastics start training their prodigies when they're barely out of pull-ups. We believe in leading a gifted athlete toward his destiny as soon as possible. And what better place than the University of Alabama, winner of 97 national championships?

We are now required by federal law to include a legal disclaimer:

Please don't read this: This scholarship offer means nothing we can withdraw it at any time for no reason and anyway all of us will probably be long gone before your boy gets here you never read this.

Finally, you might wonder how our program has fared since we started recruiting so young. The answer: fantastic! Our first prenatal recruits are showing consistent improvement in their 40-foot crawl times. One of our 5-year-olds won the Nerf division of the Punt, Pass and Kick contest. And our older kids are starring in middle and high schools across the country. We have proven the value of shining the spotlight on children years before they're ready to play a college game.

The only variable we haven't been able to control is attitude. For some reason, when they get to our campus, a lot of them act like they're superstars.

Congratulations again and Roll Tide,

Coach Nick Saban

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Questions? Comments? Challenges? Taunts? You can reach me at tommy.tomlinson@sportsonearth.com or on Twitter @tommytomlinson.