By Jesse Smithey
Will Albright’s decision to start long-snapping for his middle school team might end up being one of the best choices he ever made.
Tennessee football coach Jeremy Pruitt offered him a full scholarship, and Albright — a rising junior at Greeneville High School — accepted it right on the spot Tuesday.
For a long-snapper to get offered before his junior season is rare — especially on a full ride to an SEC program. Most long-snappers get offered near the end of their senior seasons. But the pot was sweetened even more for Albright in that he was a Tennessee fan.
His verbal commitment was essentially a no-brainer.
“I’m blessed for it to happen to me,” he said of getting a full ride. “It’s been amazing. It’s an under-appreciated position. A lot of things can go wrong (for long-snappers). No one knows your name unless you screw up.
“It’s a lot of pressure, and you have to be able to handle it.”
Apparently, Albright can. He’s the No. 4-ranked longsnapper in the Class of 2020 by Rubio Long Snapping — one of the country’s foremost experts on the position.
“He’s a really good coach for that,” Albright said of coach Chris Rubio. “A lot of college coaches rely on him to find guys. If you look at his top 30 guys, there all going to D-1 Power 5 Conference schools.
“He knows what he’s doing.”
Albright also plays safety and some wide receiver for Greeneville, which won the Class 4A state championship this past season. But he started long-snapping as a seventh-grader at the urging of a middle-school coach who had also long-snapped in college. Some of his high school coaches at Greeneville long-snapped in college, as well. So he’s had great guidance to this point.
All that’s left is getting his 6-2, 200-pound frame up to 6-2, 225 by the end of his prep career. Albright said that’s the ideal weight for SEC long-snappers.
Pruitt doesn’t want Albright to be some immobile long-snapper, though, who can’t move about the field. So before offering Albright, he had him come to a defensive backs camp to see how Albright moved.
Pruitt liked what he saw.
“I was a lost for words when Coach Pruitt offered,” Albright said. “I said, I’m just going to commit.
“I said, ‘I’ll take it.’”