Alabama Football: What signing Desmond Ricks means

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

With the commitment of cornerback Desmond Ricks on Thursday evening, Alabama football now has seven 5-stars in its star-studded 2023 recruiting class.

Desmond Ricks becomes the fifth 5-star in one of the most impressive defensive hauls of all time. More specifically, he is another difference-maker in a jaw-dropping secondary class that includes four top-60 overall players.

Ricks, a product of IMG Academy, is considered the no. 23 overall player and the second-best cornerback in the nation. He joins an incredible defensive back class that includes no. 1 safety Caleb Downs, no. 4 corner Jahlil Hurley, and blue-chip safeties Tony Mitchell and Bray Hubbard.

This group will instantly supplement a secondary that expects to lose a lot of players, including senior safeties Jordan Battle and DeMarcco Hellams as well as potential first-round draft picks Brian Branch and Eli Ricks. Should Eli Ricks return, Alabama could have an elite corner tandem with sophomore Kool-Aid McKinstry set to return.

Should Eli Ricks opt for the draft, redshirt freshman Terrion Arnold will be the returnee with the most experience at the position. Bama also has veteran Jahquez Robinson and class of 2022 products Earl Little Jr. and Trequon Fegans at corner. Desmond Ricks and Jahlil Hurley are both talented enough to push for reps from day one.

Ricks helps to shore up one of the few question marks on the 2023 roster for Alabama football. It may take him some time to develop, considering he recently reclassified from the class of 2024. Still, Desmond Ricks’ raw talent level at one of the most important positions on the field is invaluable.

Alabama Football has produced a dizzying number of NFL Draft picks at every position, but the secondary has been a specialty of Coach Nick Saban.

In the Saban era, Bama has produced first-round draft picks such as Kareem Jackson, Mark Barron, Dre Kirkpatrick, Dee Milliner, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Marlon Humphrey, Minkah Fitzpatrick, and Pat Surtain II. The Crimson Tide have also sent several more DBs to the NFL in later rounds.

Just yesterday, Alabama had four former defensive backs named to the Pro Bowl in Humphrey, Fitzpatrick, Surtain II, and Trevon Diggs. The Tide continue to be an NFL factory in the defensive backfield, and Desmond Ricks has wisely chosen to follow that pipeline.

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Alabama Football is running away with the top class in the 2023 recruiting cycle. The Tide also continues to inch closer to having the greatest class of all time, at least on paper.