Will the Rydeouts return under Kalen DeBoer?

New Mexico State v Alabama
New Mexico State v Alabama / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

Alabama has been a priority destination for top wide receiver recruits for almost a decade, producing several first round draft picks at the position. The receiver position has seemingly fallen off over the last two seasons, as Bama did not have a receiver reach 800 yards in either season. 

If the Tide wants to return to having game-changing pass catchers, the hire of Kalen DeBoer was certainly a good one. DeBoer, along with co-offensive coordinator and receivers coach JaMarcus Shephard, have developed multiple first-rounders of their own and will look to bring that success to Tuscaloosa. 

On paper, Bama has still recruited elite wide receivers. However, injuries, underdevelopment, and other factors have made the wide receiver room in Tuscaloosa a revolving door of transfers. Over the last three cycles, former highly touted recruits such as Agiye Hall, Javon Baker, Aaron Anderson, Jojo Earle, Christian Leary, Traeshon Holden, Shazz Preston, Ja’Corey Brooks, and Isaiah Bond have all transferred out of the program. 

In response, the Tide has had to dip into the portal for reinforcements. Some transfer additions, like Jameson Williams and to a lesser extent Jermaine Burton, have panned out nicely. Others, like supposed speedsters Tyler Harrell and Malik Benson, came to Tuscaloosa with a lot of fanfare but offered little to no production before jumping right back into the portal. 

Despite all this turmoil, Alabama still has a fairly talented wide receiver room. Germie Bernard, Kendrick Law, and Kobe Prentice are all former 4-star recruits who have starting experience at the college level. All three have contributed in complementary roles at their respective stops, but none have proven themselves as an alpha. Though this trio is a good start for a receiver room, they are light years away from the DeVonta Smith & Jerry Jeudy led groups that tormented SEC defenses for years. 

Can Bama’s receivers return to that level under Kalen DeBoer and his staff? Shepherd’s recruiting prowess at the position and the proven production of guys like top-10 pick Rome Odunze will help the cause.

A 5-star and a top-10 player nationally, true freshman wideout Ryan Williams is the obvious future face of the room, and is a huge starting piece to build off of. Other young receivers on the roster include Jalen Hale, Caleb Odom, Bubba Hampton, Rico Scott, and Amari Jefferson.

Look for the Tide to continue to pursue blue chip receivers as the 2025 cycle progresses and beyond. From there, we will see if Shephard can have more developmental success than his predecessors.