Former Harding University fullback Alvertis "Al" Gatlin was a standout FB in the AF2 this past season.
Gatlin, who played for Rio Grande Dorados, had a career-high when he rushed for 32 yards, which was a team record. So when it came time to move up to the AFL, Utah Blaze offered him a contract with the expectation that he would pick up where he left off.
His 6-foot-2 frame makes him the AFL prototype fullback. He has worked all offseason, polishing his skills to be even better when camps start.
Al credits his cousin, former NBA player, Chris Gatling, for some of his physical readiness this offseason. Chris was pretty tough on him, not allowing him to slack off, even on the days when he was fatigued.
I caught up with Al right after his first day of practice with the Blaze and he was excited about his first day.
Hometown? Palestine, Arkansas.
What is the name of your hometown newspaper? Time Daily.
Favorite spot to unwind? Champ Sports Bar, Houston, or watching NFL Network or ESPN.
Your Local Gym? 24 Hour Fitness, Dallas, Texas.
Favorite genre of music? Rap, Alternative and Reggae.
Who do you admire in the NFL at your position? Lorenzo Neal, San Diego Chargers.
Which coach made a lasting impression on you while growing? High School Coach – Frank Francis.
If you weren't playing football, what would you have been doing? Baseball. Gatlin played baseball in high school and was a starter as a pitcher and outfielder.
Famous family members? Chris Gatling, former NBA player and Justin Gatlin, track and field.
Favorite quote he has ever heard? “Remember that strength will not defeat technique.”
Pet Peeve? Liars.
Who do you admire the most? His father and agent, because they work extremely hard.
Alone on an island for 30 days with no food, what three things would you need to have? His playbook, ESPN and his playbook.
I am sure there is an AFL player out there that you will like to play against, if so, who is he? Umar Mohammad, New Orleans.
If the title of a book could tell your life story, what would it be? The Journey.
What did you learn from playing AF2? Professionalism, discipline and film review.
What’s the one thing you want the fans to know? Fans should know he is easy-going and fun off the field.
What was your major at Harding University? Criminal Justice.
Do you eat pancakes or give them? Al eats tons of Pancakes for breakfast and is known to dish them out on the field.
Favorite movie? Gladiator.
How did you spend your offseason? He worked with dad in their trucking business and trained with his cousin Chris Gatling.
What your biggest challenge as a fullback? Being the best blocker in the league.
Pregame routine? Listening to T.I. and Lil’ Wayne on his Zoom.
Outside of Football, what else do you have in your plans? Gatlin plans to go on a missionary trip to Brazil, where he will be teaching English to Portuguese students. He enjoys living in Salt Lake City and looks forward to playing on the east coast against some of his AF2 rivals.