The Alabama Football program has seemingly landed their new head coach as Pete Thamel of ESPN announced that Alabama Football is negotiating a contract to hire Washington Head Coach Kalen DeBoer.
DeBoer is coming off an incredible season at Washington, finishing 14-1 after losing the National Championship to Michigan. DeBoer has done an incredible job in rebuilding Washington back to the heights it reached under Chris Petersen going 25-3 across two seasons.
DeBoer has been a winner at every program he's led leading Sioux Falls with a 67-3 record winning three NAIA Championships. He'd then lead Fresno State for two seasons before heading to Washington turning a 2-6 team into a 9-3 team two seasons later finishing his career at Fresno State with a 12-6 record.
DeBoer's successful 2023 season resulted in him winning many of the top coaching awards winning the Walter Camp Coach of the Year, Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year, AP Coach of the Year, Home Depot Coach of the Year, and his second straight Pac-12 Coach of the Year award.
DeBoer will inherit a team loaded with talent that will be one of the National Championship favorites if he's able to keep key players in place.
On offense, he figures to inherit pieces similar to the ones he had at Washington with Jalen Milroe, Justice Haynes and Jam Miller in the backfield, Kendrick Law and Kobe Prentice at Wideout, and talented tight ends in Amari Niblack, CJ Dippre, and newcomer Caleb Odom. Should DeBoer turn the offense into something similar to what he did with Washington's group the Alabama Football team will find itself right back into playoff and National Title contention.
Coach DeBoer will be faced with following up an icon of both the University and the sport as Nick Saban's successor. His first task at hand will be building a staff and recruiting both recruits and internal players as they weigh their options in the transfer portal. While DeBoer will likely bring in many of his own staffers there are many pieces in place that Nick Saban brought in that should be left in place to keep continuity in the program.
A key piece the Alabama Football program will hope that DeBoer can retain is his Wide Receivers coach JaMarcus Shephard. Shephard became a candidate to replace Holmon Wiggins after he left for Texas A&M quickly becoming one of the nation's top wide receivers coaches. Shephard has helped develop Rome Odunze who amassed 1,640 yards, Ja'Lynn Polk who recorded 1,159 yards, and Jalen McMillan who would've likely recorded his second straight 1,000-yard season if not for injuries.
DeBoer hasn't had major success recruiting landing the nation's 29th ranked recruiting class. With all of DeBoer's recruits coming from the West Coast, we could see him take a leap moving into the Southeast which is a deeper recruiting pool.
The major concern with DeBoer recruiting-wise would be how he performed with In-State recruiting as he didn't land a top 50 recruit from the State of Washington in this year's class. DeBoer did much better with his first recruiting class landing two of the top ten recruits in state.
Kalen DeBoer has proven he can keep Alabama football recruiting near the top
The first player that DeBoer will have to pursue is Ryan Williams, who reopened his recruitment just hours after Coach Saban's retirement. Williams is one of the 2024 recruiting class's top players and was Alabama Football's top recruit in this year's class.
The biggest threat to landing Williams now is Auburn as they've been pushing hard to land Williams while also landing Perry Thompson, Cam Coleman, and Malcolm Simmons a few of the top receiver recruits in the country and top players in the state of Alabama. DeBoer and Shephard can use their track record with wide receivers to help in recruiting the talented receiver.
We will have to wait and see if Kalen DeBoer retains any of the coaches or coordinators or if he brings his offensive and defensive coordinators Ryan Grubb and co-defensive coordinators William Inge and Chuck Morrell along with him.
It would be massive if DeBoer could retain several key assistants like Freddie Roach and Travaris Robinson who have been vital in player development and recruiting. If DeBoer is able to retain the pair of top recruiters then a lot of the worries surrounding DeBoer will be eliminated as his coaching track record leaves no reason to doubt him.
As we've seen with the Alabama Football transfer window reopening, we may end up with some Washington Huskies joining their head coach Kalen DeBoer on the Alabama Football team. DeBoer landed the Nation's 29th-ranked recruiting class which may help supplement any losses we see from the Alabama Football program with Saban's departure. Luckily, the only player to depart since Nick Saban's announcement is the aforementioned Ryan Williams who hadn't signed a letter of intent yet.
The past few days have been an absolute whirlwind for the Alabama Football program. The day would eventually come with Nick Saban announcing his retirement but, that day was still always going to be a sad day. Greg Bryne has made another slam dunk hire after landing Nate Oats and baseball coach Rob Vaughn.
Being the man who replaced Nick Saban will be a difficult shadow for DeBoer to emerge from however I fully expect him to get some pointers from the man himself. It's way too soon to predict if we'll see a bronze version of Kalen DeBoer alongside Nick Saban on the Walk of Champions but, the first step in replacing the icon is complete.