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An illustrated guide to the recruiting visit at Nick Saban's house

Illustration by Rafael Alvarez

In an area of Tuscaloosa County packed with trees, down a long driveway lies Alabama's secret weapon.

It's 8,759 square feet. It sits on almost two acres. It has a fleet of golf carts. It's Nick Saban's house.

Pulling up to the massive, secluded home, recruits describe feeling a mix of intimidation and awe. "It was kind of like a movie," said ESPN 300 Alabama offensive line commit Jedrick Wills. "Everything was in slow motion."

If you're like Wills, a top recruit arriving at the home of Nick and Terry Saban, you know you've made it. But, first you have to get past security.

"We get to his house, there's security sitting outside," said safety Daniel Wright, the No. 60 player in the ESPN 300. "You have to go through a security thing to get there. It's a classic type of house, because he has a lot of swag in him but he just doesn't show it."

To Wright, and the other 17 ESPN 300 commitments in Alabama's No. 1-ranked 2017 recruiting class, swag matters. Yes, the house is where Saban and his wife, Terry, live, but for Saban and all college head coaches, their homes are just another part of the recruiting arsenal. On each official visit weekend, the recruits have to be impressed, but comfortable. They need to feel right at home, having a good time without forgetting the awesome power of the Crimson Tide.

And even if they manage that, then they have to try to stop staring at Saban's car.

"[Saban] has this really, really cool Mercedes everyone was going crazy over," Wills said. "It was like a sports race car. It looked like it could go about 300 miles-per-hour, it was a charcoal grey that looked brand new. Not a convertible, just a normal sports car. He got in it for us and gassed it up and that thing sounded like a lion."

"When I tell you one of the best cars I've ever seen," Wright said. "He told us his son modeled it ... and [Saban] was the first one to get the AMG Benz because his son did it. Miss Terry got in the car and pressed the gas and I tell you, the engine you would not be able to explain."

So once they make it past the muscle out front, and the muscle car parked nearby, recruits need to be entertained, right?

That's when Saban walks them into their in-home recruiting lounge. It has a big-screen TV, a ping-pong table and a pool table. On the walls, all around the lounge, are photos of some of the best players ever to suit up for Saban at Alabama.

"If it'd had an Xbox, it would be perfect," Wills said.

For a little alone time with Saban, recruits will head to the coach's office. In there, the swag is measured in karats.

"The first thing that really caught my eyes were a lot of diamonds, just shining in my face," Wright said. "First thing [Saban] said, 'Oh yeah, we love jewelry here.' All you could see was a lot of diamonds."

But there's more. Behind the house, once past all the all-time greats and diamonds, the property has access to a lake. To get there, a trail through the woods must be navigated. For that, there are the golf carts. Recruits say they're parked en masse in his driveway. But, really, they're for racing to the lake, where the recruits can hang out, swim and ride jet skis.

But the house and property aren't all fun and games. There's some business to attend to. If you're a recruit at the Saban compound, you're good enough to help the Crimson Tide make a fourth-consecutive trip to the College Football Playoff. That, of course, means committing. And sometimes you're going to do it during a golf-cart race.

"[Saban] got in the cart and rode with me and I told him when I was riding with him that I was thinking about committing," five-star athlete Dylan Moses said. "He was happy."

Moses did commit. He's one of three five-stars in yet another elite Alabama recruiting class. Maybe, that's just the power of the house.