Alabama Football: Will Caleb Odom be an instant-impact freshman?

Missouri v Alabama
Missouri v Alabama / Brandon Sumrall/GettyImages

Alabama Football landed one of the top two recruiting classes in the country in 2024, even in spite of some late drama. 

Ultimately, Coach Nick Saban was responsible for most of the haul, while new coach Kalen DeBoer did a good job with retention and closed the cycle about as strongly as one could have expected.

One of the most promising early enrollees in Alabama’s 2024 class is 4-star tight end Caleb Odom. Odom hails from Carrollton, Georgia, and is one of the most promising high-upside pass catchers in the entire cycle, regardless of position or class. He is considered to be a top-100 overall player across the industry, and is listed as a 5-star by On3.

By any metric, Caleb Odom is one of the best tight ends in this class. He is listed at 6’5” and 215 pounds, and is a very fluid athlete for his size. He moves with the agility of a wide receiver, runs the entire route tree, and is very rangy with an impressive catch radius. Odom is not yet a polished blocker, and he is probably not physical enough to play in-line tight end in the SEC as a true freshman. Still, he is gifted enough that Bama could choose to deploy him in a flexed role, almost like an additional wide receiver. 

With his size, Odom would add another dimension to the Alabama receiving corps. As the receiver rotation is currently projected, its tallest major contributor would be 6’1” sophomore Jalen Hale or 6’1” Washington transfer Germie Bernard. Odom could provide the Bama passing game with a jump-ball target and could be particularly dangerous in red zone situations. 

The departure of Amari Niblack opens up a significant opportunity within the Bama offense. Niblack started at tight end for the Crimson Tide in 2023, and shares a similar archetype and skillset with Odom at the position. Caleb Odom will likely receive a lot of comparisons to Niblack, as well as former Bama tight end Jahleel Billingsley. Niblack and Billingsley are the two most recent Alabama tight ends that served primarily as receivers.

In my opinion, however, Odom is a smoother and more natural athlete than either of these two. I think his ceiling is more along the lines of former Tide standout OJ Howard, who proved to be a big play threat at the tight end position. 

Alabama Football should feature an exciting passing game in 2024, particularly with the additions of Germie Bernard and Ryan Williams. As we get into spring football, we will begin to learn whether or not Caleb Odom will be a part of that equation in year one.