Alabama Football freshman safety Caleb Downs has never played a down for the Crimson Tide, but high school evaluations and early spring practice returns indicate that he is good enough to make this list.
In fact, if Downs is as good as advertised once the season kicks off in the fall, he will likely have been too low on this early predictive list.
Caleb Downs was a 5-star recruit and the top-ranked safety in the 2023 class.
A safety is very unlikely to ever be the no. 1 player in any given class, as recruiting rankings are often based on future NFL Draft projections. However, there was widespread belief amongst scouts and analysts that Downs was the best high school football player in the country last season, regardless of position, class, or state.
The true freshman is already making waves in spring practice, and was reportedly receiving first team reps just a couple practice sessions into the spring.
Caleb Downs should make a massive impact on the Alabama defense in 2023. He became one of the most talented players on the team the second he stepped on campus, and he figures to fill one of the biggest positions of need on the roster.
Expectations for the freshman safety are growing day by day, but it is also important to remain realistic with his development. Downs could very well be an elite, game-changing player for Alabama Football on day one, but history suggests that this is not likely.
If Caleb Downs is a starter in Bama’s first game, expect him to be a very good player at safety. He may make some spectacular plays, but growing pains and the occasional mistake should not come as a major surprise.
Alabama Football has a handful of veterans in the secondary that can provide leadership and guidance for Downs, including Kool-Aid McKinstry, Malachi Moore, and Kristian Story.
While he needs some experience under his belt, the freshman may be the most talented of the bunch.