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Which freshmen players for Alabama football are in position to be impactful this fall?

jaylen mbakwe
Photo comes via social media

Nick Saban valued his upperclassmen in 17 years as Alabama’s head football coach, but he never shied away from playing freshmen.

If a young player gave Alabama the best chance to win, Saban had that athlete on the field.

RELATED: ESPN FPI ranks Alabama’s 2024 strength of schedule in Top 10

Crimson Tide fans saw two freshmen in the 2017 season deliver the team to a College Football Playoff National Championship.

Kalen DeBoer, Alabama’s current head coach, said he will play the best players during an event in Mobile, Ala. He does not care what classification they are as long as they can assist the Tide to winning a championship. Alabama signed a talented freshmen class for 2024, but how many players will see action in the fall? A breakdown of players that have the best chance to contribute as freshmen is below.

Ryan Williams, WR

Ryan Williams is too talented to not have in the wide receiver rotation.

He backed off his pledge to the Crimson Tide when Nick Saban retired, but Kalen DeBoer made sure he got the five-star playmaker from Saraland (Ala.) High School to recommit and sign.

According to Justin Smith, the director of scouting and recruiting from Touchdown Alabama Magazine, Williams is a faster version of 2020 Heisman Trophy winner, DeVonta Smith.

Williams was a two-time Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of Alabama and two-time “Mr. Football” recipient for the state.

The 6-foot-1, 165-pounder is highly explosive and executes every route in the route tree. He caught 187 passes for 3,254 yards receiving and 47 touchdowns across three seasons at Saraland.

Williams also had 22 rushing touchdowns, had a touchdown pass, and returned two punts for scores in his career. He did everything for the Spartans, nearly leading the program to a Class 6A state championship last season. Williams is a marquee play waiting to happen, and the Tide needs to take advantage of his skill set.

Caleb Odom, WR

Caleb Odom is just as important as Williams playing as a freshman.

Carrolton (Ga.) High School prepared him for college football as a tight end.

The 6-foot-5, 215-pounder totaled 64 receptions for 1,121 yards, and 13 touchdowns as junior.

Odom excelled in basketball as well, but Alabama moved him to wide receiver during spring practice.

He showed out in scrimmages and made plays in the spring game. Close sources to Touchdown Alabama Magazine revealed that Odom will start his career at Alabama in a ‘Mike Evans kind of role.’ He will be a jump ball target, third-down weapon, and red zone target. 

Odom’s size, routes, and body control fits the role well.

Red Morgan, DB

Red Morgan is the lone freshman that could start in the secondary this season.

His hunger, athleticism, and playmaking abilities propelled him to a strong spring. He made plays in practices, scrimmages, and in the A-Day matchup.

Morgan impressed coaches and players with his potential. The product of Central High School (Phenix City, Ala.) is battling for a starting job at two different spots. He is going after the ‘Husky’ position or the ‘Rover’ spot in the fall.

Jeremiah Beaman, DL

Alabama has a lot of depth on its defensive line, but Jeremiah Beaman is no joke.

The Birmingham (Ala.) native is art 292 pounds, but he should be between 300 and 305 by fall camp. According to Leonard Stephens of Step-By-Step Performance Training, Beaman is growing into his body and impressing the coaches. He is long, athletic, and can be really good as a three-technique. Beaman has an opportunity to get playing time up front.

Jaylen Mbakwe, DB

He is still learning how to be a defensive back, but Jaylen Mbakwe is way too talented to not have him on the field.

Special teams, primarily the return game, could be his way to stardom. Mbakwe was electric at Clay-Chalkville High School returning punts. He has to vision to set up blocks, hit a crease, and take it the distance for touchdowns. Alabama has not had an electrifying return specialist since Jaylen Waddle.

Mbakwe can provide the excitement for fans if given an opportunity.

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Stephen M. Smith is the senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 15 years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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