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Alabama's Nick Saban visits Barry Sanders, says he believes Mark Ingram will go pro

BY ROBERT PRZYBYLO Staff Writer bprzybylo@opubco.com Modified: January 5, 2011 at 9:03 pm •  Published: January 5, 2011

Heritage Hall junior running back Barry J. Sanders hasn't made any decisions on where he is going to college. But one coach went out of his way to make sure Sanders knows that he is wanted.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban and Crimson Tide recruiting coordinator Curt Cignetti visited Heritage Hall in Oklahoma City on Wednesday. They wanted to reassure Sanders that the Tide are extremely interested.

“It was cool of him to do that,” Sanders said. “He seemed nice, and he just said it would be great to have me.”

Saban met with Sanders in the cafeteria area as part of a tour of the Heritage Hall campus.

Sanders told The Oklahoman that Saban told him that he believes 'Bama running back Mark Ingram is going to forgo his senior season and declare for the NFL Draft. Saban said Ingram, who won the Heisman Trophy as a sophomore, will make his decision Friday.

But Ingram isn't the only quality runner in the Alabama backfield, and he most likely wouldn't be Sanders' potential competition. Sophomore Trent Richardson rushed for 700 yards and six touchdowns to complement 266 receiving yards and four scores this season.

Saban asked about the status of Sanders' foot injury.

Sanders had surgery on his right foot a few weeks ago. He suffered the injury in a Week 6 win against Newcastle last October. Sanders only played in one other game during the Chargers run to the state championship.

“It's going to be at least a few more weeks,” said Sanders, the son of Pro Football Hall of Famer and former Oklahoma State star Barry Sanders. “I'm hoping to start walking again in February, and then we'll see.

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