Inside Earl Little Jr.'s rise to blue-chip recruit who will soon sign with Alabama, FSU or Miami
Dec 12, 2021
In a blink of an eye, Earl Little Sr. has seen his son Earl Little Jr. go from a hungry young football player to a blue-chip recruit, clinging to every memory he can as his youngest child closes in on a college decision.
“His passion for the game and how serious he’d be at the coin toss looking at the opposing players when he was young, I told him he’s got what it takes to be a big-time recruit and everything came to fruition.”
The now 6-foot-1, 175-pound Little will sign with the school of his choice this coming Wednesday, with Alabama, Florida State and Miami (where the elder Little suited up before a nine-year NFL career that included 18 interceptions) the finalists.
“The kid works his ass off,” Little Sr. stated. “There is nobody that works harder than him. Nobody that watches more film than him. His passion for the game is through the roof.
“It’s great. I always told his mom when he was little, I’d say he’s special. Just watching him run. Just watching him punish kids when he used to run the ball. Seeing him go up, he caught this one pass over two kids, they call it now you got Mossed, it was an unbelievable catch when he was 10-years old. Just the focus of him, I actually have a real nice picture of that catch.”
Tabbed by the Top247 as the No. 73 prospect overall regardless of position, Little helped Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) American Heritage win a state championship as a junior. Head coach Pat Surtain could count on Little to erase a side of the field for him and college coaches showed interest from coast to coast as Little racked up close to 40 offers.
“Seeing him get to high school, he always had little muscles and was ripped but I didn’t let him lift weights till high school,” his father said. “Him getting in the strength program with Coach Mike Smith and see his body change and develop, he went out there and locked people down for three years in a row. Having great competition in practice and playing in some big-time high school football games, it’s a blessing to see your child go out there and earn it and not just get it because of his last name.”
The moment Little knew he was having a son he dreamed of all of this for his boy, started coaching him in youth league and has been there every step of the way. He is now ready to hand his third child off to Nick Saban, Mike Norvell or Mario Cristobal.
“This is something he dreamed about,” Little Sr. said. “I’m glad he went through the whole process and didn’t want to commit early. You have to go through this whole process, enjoy it, take time and go from there.”
The elder Little spoke on each of the finalists.
Regarding Alabama: “You have a head coach that coaches the defensive backs, he’s put a lot of guys out in the NFL and they have been consistently the top college football program since he’s been there, and prior to him being there 12 National Championships, so they have 18 now, possibly 19. The whole program, how he does things over there, a lot of kids want to know about having fun and you’re going to have fun being a college student but the main goal is to get your degree and go over there and play football and Alabama is the standard.”
Regarding Florida State: “Florida State has great tradition. They were one of Earl’s favorite teams as a kid. He’s a huge fan of Jalen Ramsey. He reminds me of a mixture of Jalen Ramsey and Charles Woodson, that’s how I look at Earl. They’re in the rebuilding stages, they have a good, tough DBs over there. They have a good defensive line, the tradition is there, it’s in-state, they’ve done an excellent job, Coach Woodson, Coach Randy Shannon, Coach Norvell, they’ve done a great job recruiting Earl.”
Regarding Miami: “He’s been to a lot of games as a kid. We have family members that graduated from The U, not just me. Just the whole thing about Miami, you have the great tradition. You can go on and on about the history and tradition. It’s right down the street. It’s local, great education. It’s home but at the same time you got Mario. You have a guy that’s ben in the trenches, knows what it takes and you have a guy that’s run out of the smoke and knows what it means playing as a Miami Hurricane. We’ve been missing that for the past 20 years. It’s time for our program to get back to that elite level. It’s going to take time but it’s not far away. I know Mario is the guy. He was a hell of a recruiter at Alabama. He turned the program up at FIU and got them in a bowl game. For him to go to Oregon and have top classes and win the Rose Bowl and win the conference, he’s certified, he’s qualified and most importantly and he’s my friend.”