Larry Burton (Syndicated Writer) — Look at the Alabama football schedule, and you'll see one thing that is obviously on Nick Saban's list of things to steal from Pennsylvania: a win against home-state favorites the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium.
And if you're still scratching your heads wondering what the second thing could be, you only have to look at the list of good high school players in the state and see a big defensive lineman who is just the kind of player Saban wants at Alabama.
That player is 6'4'', 245-pound Noah Spence of Harrisburg, Penn., a defensive lineman who in just his junior year last year registered 22 sacks and 104 tackles.
The problem for Saban is simple: Everyone else in the nation wants this young man too, and stealing him from the area is going to be tough.
Spence has offers from almost every major university, and if he doesn't, it's because they know they don't have a chance to land him, not that they don't want him.
Alabama did not have the sack production they wanted last year, and Saban knows his defense is even more dangerous when the quarterback is running for his life. He also knows that Spence is just the kind of lineman who make a quarterback not just break into a cold sweat, but also a dead run as well.
He has yet to visit Tuscaloosa, but according to Spence, you don't have to live in the South to know all about Alabama, and he was honored to get the offer and have Coach Sal Sunseri come and look over his film and pave the way for his meeting this week with head coach Nick Saban.
He is coming to visit the campus with his father this summer and planning at least one official visit as well later on in the year.
According the his father, Greg Spence, Noah is very interested in Alabama, and though he has yet to list any favorites, certainly Alabama with their facilities and reputation would get a lot of attention from Spence.
One of the things that impressed Spence the most were the facilities, not just for football, but for study halls and one-on-one tutoring. Noah has a 3.5 GPA and is interested in being as good a student as he is a sack machine.
That mental attitude is something that Noah's father says is one of the reasons he's such a good football player.
Greg Spence also says his son is both humble and hungry: hungry for success both on and off the field and humble in the success he does enjoy.
No wonder he makes his father proud; no wonder Nick Saban wants to steal him; no wonder every other coach does too. He has it all and it will be an interesting fight to watch Nick Saban try and steal him.
It could be a harder heist than the win against Penn State this fall.