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On national signing day, Ryan Williams’ Alabama recruiting comes to a “Hollywood” conclusion.

Ryan Williams never questioned anything. Not even after Nick Saban’s retirement did the five-star wide receiver realize Alabama was the right location. All he needed was a little time to get to know the new coach, the great one.

Ryan Williams’ Alabama recruitment gets a ‘Hollywood’ ending on national signing day

It’s Alabama, after all,” Williams remarked. “I remained confident since I knew we would find someone.”

On national signing day, Wednesday morning at Saraland High School, Williams formally committed to the Crimson Tide along with eight other teammates. Williams, who the 247Sports Composite ranks as the eighth best athlete in the 2024 class, is scheduled to graduate one year ahead of schedule and enroll in the program this summer.

It was undoubtedly difficult, according to Williams. “It was a difficult decision, especially with everyone vying for my attention and wanting a piece of me, but it became simple once I spoke with Coach DeBoer and the new staff. It simply gave me a sense of comfort. Williams and his family cheered from the stage, “Roll Tide!” and “Blitz, Bama, Blitz!” in front of a crowded auditorium. Following the event, Williams disclosed that the protracted hiring procedure was now complete.

Now that Williams is formally headed to Tuscaloosa, how does it feel?

Williams described it as “great, amazing, outstanding, fantastic, and beautiful.” “It feels fantastic.”

Williams, one of the most accomplished and productive athletes in Alabama high school history, will graduate from Saraland High. With a cumulative stat line that includes more than 5,000 all-purpose yards and 72 total touchdowns, he is the first player in Alabama history to win both Mr. Football and Gatorade Player of the Year in consecutive years. Williams caught 11 catches for 232 yards in his final high school game, which took place in Bryant-Denny Stadium during the Class 6A state championship. He also added a touchdown on the ground and returned an 86-yard kickoff return.

After committing to Alabama on October 8, 2022, Williams withdrew his commitment on January 10, the day of Nick Saban’s retirement, and waited patiently for the new recruit. Kalen DeBoer was appointed Alabama’s new coach two days later.

The night (DeBoer) was hired, I received a call,” stated Jeff Kelly, the head coach of Saraland. “After a day or two, we had a talk, and they truly made it a point of his early days to get in touch with Ryan and me, just to introduce himself and what he wants to be as a coach and his goals for Ryan.”

DeBoer won a huge recruiting victory when Williams paid a formal visit to Alabama on the weekend of January 20 and recommitted to the university four days later. Williams turned down offers from Auburn, Texas, and LSU, among other schools. Williams cited DeBoer’s manner as a major contributing element to his reaffirmation of commitment.

According to Williams, “anyone else in that position would probably try to act like Coach Saban or live up to the Saban hype.” “DeBoer is the real deal. He made me feel really comfortable, and I think he was offended. He’s very at ease with himself.
A legendary time in high school

Though Williams was a dynamic, slender quarterback when he joined the Saraland program in 2021, Saraland needed assistance at wide out. Kelly just so happened to catch a glimpse of teammate and current West Virginia wide receiver Jarel Williams, who was throwing routes to Williams, the varsity’s backup quarterback at the time.

“I told a few coaches to look out the window,” Kelly recalled saying.

“We weren’t looking in the right spot, but we had been searching and needed a receiver to come up. When he was thrown into the program as a ninth grader, he handled it well and saw some success; however, during the offseason between his freshman and sophomore years, you could see him develop as a player and gain more self-assurance.

“He was going to be the best player in the state, I told people before he entered his sophomore year. Although no one gave me credit, I was correct.

Saraland welcomed KJ Lacey, a current Texas commit and prospect in the Class of 2025, as a new quarterback for the 2022 campaign. Together, they helped Saraland win its first-ever state championship in 2022 and place second in 2023.

He is proud of the moniker “Hollywood,” which his family gave him during a six-touchdown game in recreational football when he was six years old. During his most recent official visit to Alabama, he participated in a picture op with a personal star that read “Next Up” and a sign that said “Hollywood” in addition to a “Walk of Fame” featuring former Alabama greats.

With more than 269,000 total followers across social media (X, Instagram, TikTok), his presence is constantly expanding. A young athlete may find it exhausting to get that much attention from supporters, coaches, and the media, but Williams’ surrounds are supportive of his maturity. Williams has accepted the fame he has merited.

Williams remarked, “It’s definitely been an honor.” “You could say a lot of people look up to me, so I just want to make sure they have positive role models in me.” And I want to make the best use of my platform possible.
“Now is the time to work.”

Williams faced his closest buddy and longest-tenured Alabama commit of the 2024 class, five-star defensive back Jaylen Mbakwe, on the final play of the 2023 state championship game, a 31-28 defeat to Clay-Chalkville. Mbkawe was a major factor in Williams’ decision to remain at Alabama. They will now resume their clashes on Alabama’s practice fields. Who is going to prevail over whom?

“Definitely me,” Williams said, with a smile. “But iron sharpens iron, so he’s going to get better.”

Williams acknowledged that Mbakwe was the top recruiter for the 2024 class. Going forward, Williams will take over that position for the 2025 class, which was once the top class in the country but has only landed two pledges since Nick Saban’s departure and Williams’ reclassification. His top target is who? Lacey, who attended the ceremony on Wednesday while wearing a Texas bookbag.

Williams declared, “I got to get everybody that I can.” “We need to go back to the fact that I had the best 2025 class in the nation.”

Now that Williams’ recruitment process is over, the next few months will be considerably more peaceful. He said that he would be “just working” over the next several months in order to build on his 6-foot-1, 170-pound body and improve his returner and receiving abilities. It is anticipated that he will contend for positions on the offensive and special teams.

Williams declared, “I’m definitely ready to enjoy (the next few months).” “But I also understand the task at hand; I know I need to work and prepare for the upcoming season.”

Williams will be able to start contributing right away. Ja’Corey Brooks, Thaiu Jones-Bell, Shazz Preston, and Malik Benson, the top three receivers in terms of games started in 2023, were lost by Alabama, along with three other players at the position through the transfer portal. Williams joins four-star signings Aeryn Hampton, Amari Jefferson, and Rico Scott, as well as Washington transfer Germie Bernard, as one of five new wide receivers on the 2024 roster.

Williams recommitted a few weeks ago for other reasons, including the chance to play for DeBoer and new position coach JaMarcus Shephard, who previously instructed Rome Odunze, Ja’Lynn Polk, and Jalen McMillan at Washington and is expected to be selected in the NFL Draft.

On this day sixteen years ago, Foley native Julio Jones, another in-state megastar receiver, committed to Alabama in an attempt to kickstart the Saban era and lend immediate legitimacy to a new coaching staff on the recruiting path. Williams will have to live up to the expectations on the football field at Alabama, but this is a pivotal time for Alabama football as it enters a new era.

Williams’ career has ended one chapter and is about to start a new one. He has no regrets about the course he has taken thus far.

Williams remarked, “The good, bad, ups and downs, everything.” “I loved the entire process, and I wouldn’t change a thing.”


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