Dearborn defensive tackle Ali Saad goes from unknown to hot recruit in a week

David Goricki
The Detroit News
Dearborn defensive tackle Ali Saad has picked up a half-dozen scholarship offers in the past week.

Dearborn defensive tackle Ali Saad has gone from unknown a week ago to a hot recruit, getting his first offer, followed by a half dozen more while also getting interest from Big Ten schools.

Saad, a 6-foot-3, 250-pound junior, had more than 40 tackles, including nine sacks, last fall to help Dearborn reach the state playoffs.

On Friday, Dearborn coach John Powell took Saad to Western Michigan to talk with Broncos head coach Tim Lester, who offered him on the spot.

“He was a really good player as a junior last year, big and physical and I knew he would be good,” Powell said of Saad. “He hadn’t been to any camps like most kids, so he had never been put out there so I’ve been putting him out there with college coaches.

“On Friday I took him up to Western Michigan and Coach Lester looks at him for one minute and says, ‘I’m going to offer him, Coach. This kid is unreal.’ He has 10½-inch hands, so his hands are the size of a 7-footer. He’s 6-3, 250, but he can move.

“He took a trip to Central Michigan the following day and he was also offered there, too. Then, I get a phone call from Bowling Green saying they were going to offer, too, and I got a call from Iowa State offering him. He went to Toledo yesterday and they offered him. I’ve never see a kid in under a week go from getting no attention, no one knows who he is, to the next thing you know Big Ten coaches are calling.”

Powell said Saad also has received offers from UMass and Dartmouth, with Northwestern showing interest.

Powell already has one of his players at Western Michigan, Ali Fayad who has started at defensive end since his freshman year in 2017, getting 7½ sacks last season for the Broncos.

“Ali Saad was an all-league player last year, probably actually had a better junior season than Fayad, who was an undersized D-end,” Powell said. “Fay was a kid who didn’t get offered by anybody, saying he was too small, so I think after seeing they miss on a kid they said we’re not missing on another kid and that’s made Ali’s recruitment easier because those MAC schools don’t want to miss out again.”

Detroit King junior offensive lineman Deondre Buford, who was named to the All-Detroit first-team by The News, has gotten several Power Five offers this month, including one from Michigan State and another from Auburn.

“Early on, back last fall Deondre had offers from Kentucky, Syracuse," King coach Tyrone Spencer said, "but during this spring evaluation he’s gotten offers from Auburn, Tennessee, Michigan State, Missouri, Iowa State, just a bunch of offers with Auburn offering just two days ago.” 

Spencer expects Buford to anchor an offensive line which will open holes for running back Peny Boone.

Boone has more than 20 offers, including six Big Ten offers, with Michigan and Michigan State in the mix.

“When he first came here he wasn’t strong so he’s going to be a completely different person because now he’s in the system and has some confidence behind him,” Spencer said of Boone. “I hope he’s going to run for 2,000 yards. He’s going to be bigger, faster and stronger. He’ll run track this spring. He can do so much, catch the ball out of the backfield.”