On February 7th, 2008 Nick Saban made a massive statement and cemented a dynasty about to take off when he kept Foley, Alabama native Julio Jones in state.
Nearly sixteen years later, Kalen DeBoer has made the same statement with Saraland, Alabama native Ryan Williams committing to play for the Alabama Football program. Julio Jones was the third-ranked player in the country and the top player in the state, while Williams is the nation's eighth-ranked recruit and the second-best player in the state according to 247Sports.
Landing Ryan Williams eliminates the biggest doubt that Kalen DeBoer faced, with many questioning his ability to recruit in the SEC. The obstacles that Kalen DeBoer overcame in landing Ryan Williams after Nick Saban's retirement were massive and yet, he overcame them all.
It started when Holmon Wiggins left to coach wide receivers at Texas A&M, as Wiggins had built a strong bond with Williams. That was followed by Nick Saban's retirement, which caused Ryan Williams to de-commit from the program and re-open his recruitment. Kalen DeBoer then lost Travaris Robinson to Georgia, another figure who played a massive role in recruiting Williams to Alabama. The Alabama Football program also had to fend off strong competition in Texas, Texas A&M, and Auburn with Hugh Freeze signing four of the top five wide receivers in the state.
Massive credit is also due to Ryan Grubb, Courtney Morgan, Jamarcus Shephard, and the entire recruiting staff. The Alabama Football program rolled out the red carpet for Williams on his January 20th visit to Tuscaloosa, making the event a family affair.
In terms of Ryan Williams' impact on the Alabama Football program, it's likely that he makes an impact on the field from Day One. The departures of Isaiah Bond, Jermaine Burton, and Malik Benson create a wide-open playing field for Williams to start as a true freshman. The addition of Williams makes the early prediction for starting wide receivers Kobe Prentice, Germie Bernard, Kendrick Law, and Ryan Williams.
While landing Ryan Williams heavily mirrors Nick Saban landing Julio Jones, 247Sports has another Alabama Football player as the comparison for Williams in Devonta Smith.
Alabama Football: Landing Williams may cause a big shift in recruiting.
When a coach comes in and sends a message as strong as the one Kalen DeBoer just sent, landing Ryan Williams despite only being on the job for a few weeks, it's going to cause a shift. The emphasis DeBoer and his staff have placed on building connections in the state is proving to pay off, keeping arguably the best player in the state at home.
The first player this may impact the recruitment of is four-star quarterback in the 2025 recruiting class KJ Lacey, who was a high school teammate of Williams. Lacey visited Tuscaloosa this month with Williams, and the chance of playing with his former teammate may flip his commitment from Texas to Alabama.
Getting Williams back on board will send a strong message to the 2025 recruiting class about the state of the program and, hopefully, the class will once again reach the high ranking it had before Saban's retirement.
Note: Recruiting rankings via 24/7 sports
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