Alabama Football: Some in 2023 class could see early action

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports /

Spring, summer and early fall will see serious competition in several Alabama Football position groups. Many current Crimson Tide backups will go into spring with a good chance to earn starting roles. At the same time, some of them could end up being pushed hard by early enrolled freshmen.

There will be at least 23 new, early enroll Alabama Crimson Tide players in January. That number could grow on Thursday or Friday because on Wednesday afternoon Nick Saban was clear he wants an additional cornerback.

The remaining options at cornerback are a pair of 5-Stars, Cormani McClain and Desmond Ricks, along with 3-Star, Tyler Scott. Alabama was actively in pursuit of McClain for a long time, but Alabama football insiders state the Tide ended and will not renew that pursuit. Auburn is believed to lead for Scott. It is believed Texas would also like to add Scott.

Desmond Ricks has an announcement scheduled for Thursday afternoon, There had been some past chatter he could decide to push his decision to February. Wednesday night buzz was Ricks will announce on Thursday and it is being rumored he has quietly committed to the Crimson Tide.

Alabama Football 2023 Starters

Among the 23 early enrollees, one name stands out as a legitimate contender for a starting spot at safety. It is 5-Star, Caleb Downs. In Wednesday’s media review it was clear Nick Saban highly values Downs’ potential. All the Tide’s safeties will get a reset after the bowl game, due to Charles Kelly’s exit to join Deion Sanders at Colorado.

Another new addition should be a favorite to win a starting role this spring. Some Alabama football insiders are convinced JUCO wide receiver, Malik Benson will move into a first-unit role after a few spring practices. A freshman wide receiver, Jalen Hale will probably have the best chance among the young wideouts to earn a rotation role next fall.

Asked on Wednesday about freshmen defenders, Keon Keely, James Smith and Qua Russaw, Nick Saban was complimentary and added the trio had a chance to contribute in their first seasons.

The other incoming JUCO player, Justin Jefferson is not predicted to be an every-down linebacker. The strength of his game is pass coverage and he too could carve out a key role next season.

For two more freshmen, there is almost no doubt about becoming starters – only when. They are offensive tackle, Kadyn Proctor and running back, Justice Haynes. The running back room is so deep, Haynes will have to wait his turn to become a lead back.

Proctor has more of an opening to start as a freshman since the Tide’s offensive line roster is thin. But Proctor will have to push past some serious talent in front of him. Proctor will have to compete with redshirt freshman, Elijah Pritchett, redshirt sophomore, Jaeden Roberts and possibly sophomore, Tyler Booker if he is moved from guard. The Tide has other incoming freshmen tackles who will share Proctor’s intention for a key role. The intense competition will make all of them better.

Next. Learn more about Caleb Downs. dark

Some of the future competitions mentioned above could change with roster additions through the Transfer Portal.