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What Nick Saban said after Utahn Cameron Latu’s 2-TD performance for Alabama vs. Miami

Olympus High School football player Cameron Latu is congratulated after signing with Alabama at Olympus High in Holladay on Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017.
Olympus High School football player Cameron Latu is congratulated after signing with Alabama at Olympus High in Holladay on Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017.
Laura Seitz, Deseret News

The Alabama Crimson Tide showed why they’re ranked No. 1 in the country on Saturday in their 2021 season opener, and a Utahn played a big role in that.

In the Crimson Tide’s 44-13 win over the 14th-ranked Miami Hurricanes in Atlanta, former Olympus High star Cameron Latu caught two touchdowns at tight end in the second quarter — one from 9 yards out and the other from 25 — as Alabama opened up a 27-0 lead.

Latu finished the day with three receptions for 43 yards.

In his postgame press conference, Alabama head coach Nick Saban was asked about Latu’s performance, and he noted how the 6-foot-5, 250-pounder arrived on campus in 2018 as an outside linebacker (although he did also play tight end at Olympus).

After a couple of seasons in which Latu didn’t play much, Saban took him aside last year and told him he thought he had a better chance of contributing at tight end because he has good hands, great size and is a good athlete.

Latu, now a junior, again didn’t do a whole lot last season, but he emerged during the offseason and then broke out Saturday.

“He bought into it,” Saban said of the position switch. “It’s taken a little bit of time for him to develop and feel comfortable and confident at the position, but I was encouraged, and I think the success that he had today will build confidence.”