Alabama Football: Kalen DeBoer quickly proving himself as a recruiter

Missouri v Alabama
Missouri v Alabama / Brandon Sumrall/GettyImages

It hasn’t taken long for Alabama Football head coach Kalen DeBoer to make an impact. While honoring the legacy of Coach Nick Saban, DeBoer has quickly gone to work, molding the program in his own image.  

When Kalen DeBoer was hired to replace Coach Saban, the biggest question mark was his ability to recruit. Recruiting is king in the SEC, and DeBoer had never really established himself as an elite recruiter at his previous stops. Additionally, DeBoer came to Tuscaloosa with no real ties to the South. 

Just 12 days after accepting the job, Kalen DeBoer answered a lot of those questions resoundingly, landing 2024 5-star wide receiver Ryan Williams.

Williams was previously committed to Alabama Football and Coach Saban, but wanted to take all of his official visits before signing on the dotted line. When Coach Saban retired, Williams de-committed almost immediately.

At best, it looked like his recruitment was wide open. More pessimistic factions of the Alabama fan base even believed Bama to be out of the running entirely without Coach Saban, who had been the face of the program and perhaps the greatest recruiter of all time. 

Despite other high-profile suitors (namely, Hugh Freeze and Auburn) having long established strong relationships with Ryan Williams, it took Coach Kalen DeBoer less than two weeks to meet the prized in-state recruit and seal the deal. 

Williams visited campus at least twice during those two weeks, including an official visit over the weekend. He clearly loved DeBoer’s pitch and the direction of the program, and was quoted as saying “I’m not sure there could’ve been much of a better fit” in reference to DeBoer and Alabama Football. 

Landing such a talented player will make Alabama a better football team as soon as this fall, but Williams’ commitment to DeBoer is bigger than that. It sets the tone for DeBoer’s tenure in Tuscaloosa, and has already begun to change the national perception of DeBoer as a coach and as a recruiter. Many have already compared it to Coach Saban’s landing of Julio Jones in 2008, and the parallels are certainly there. 

It would be overly ambitious to expect Coach DeBoer to recruit at the level of Coach Saban, whether it be nationally, regionally, or in-state. If DeBoer’s first commitment is any indication, however, he will do just fine at Alabama.