The battle for top in-state linebacker came down Alabama and Auburn, but Markail Benton chose Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide.

The four-star outside linebacker held a ceremony on Friday at Central-Phenix City High School to announce his decision.

I would like to thank the schools that have recruited me," Benton said. "It was a very hard decision to decide, but I think I've found the right school for me to further my education and play football. Every child should have that dream to be successful in life."

Despite his short distance from Auburn's campus, the Alabama coaching staff was able to convince Benton to join a long-line of premier linebackers under Saban. When explaining his decision, the 2017 Under Armour All-American didn't mince words.

"Auburn's a great school, don't get me wrong," Benton said. "They have a great facility too, and it's like 30 minutes up the road so I would take a visit to Auburn every weekend. But I mean, Alabama's got better coaching."

Benton is the third linebacker in the class of 2017 for Alabama and the 13th overall commitment. The Crimson Tide now sits at No. 1 in the Rivals team rankings.