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Alabama Football Impact Players

Which freshman will have the biggest impact for Alabama football in 2024?

Alabama WR Ryan Williams at a Under Armour football camp.
Justin Smith - Touchdown Alabama Magazine

Nick Saban delivered many things to Alabama football in 17 years as its head coach, but one of the main aspects Crimson Tide fans always counted on with him was a true freshman making an impact. 

In his run of national championships in the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) and College Football Playoff (CFP) eras, Saban at least had one freshman that played a significant role in helping the Tide capture a national title. Kalen DeBoer is now the head man for the University of Alabama.

He kept together a freshmen class for Saban as the seven-time national champion announced his retirement from coaching in January. Alabama has a lot of players with experience on its roster, but one can expect for a freshman to have a marquee impact. The Tide has an in-state prospect as a freshman that looks be explosive in the fall.

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Ryan Williams, a five-star from Saraland (Ala.) High School, will be the most impactful freshman.

The talented wide receiver is 17 years old, but he wants this moment and embraces the expectations. He reclassified to graduate high school a year early to start his collegiate career.

Williams did everything imaginable at Saraland — including a two-time Gatorade Player of the Year and two-time “Mr. Football” recipient for the state of Alabama. The 6-foot-1, 165-pounder was an incredible football and track athlete. Williams posted 187 catches for 3,254 yards and 47 touchdown receptions in his career.

He was also dynamic out the backfield, totaling 961 yards rushing and 22 touchdowns on 87 carries for the Spartans. Williams returned two punts for touchdowns and tossed a touchdown pass. 

He recorded a personal best of 10.49 seconds in the 100 meter dash and 21.28 seconds in the 200 meter dash.

RELATED: Alabama WR coach says ‘get your popcorn ready’ for 5-star freshman

According to Justin Smith, the director of scouting and recruiting for Touchdown Alabama Magazine, Williams is a ‘faster version of DeVonta Smith.’

JaMarcus Shephard, Alabama’s co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach, told Ryan Fowler of Tide 100.9 FM to make sure fans ‘have their popcorn ready’ for Williams. He believes the freshman is going to be really good.

Coach DeBoer has been impressed with Williams’ transformation in the offseason program and how he fits perfectly with the team.

It is going to be difficult to keep a player of his caliber off the field.

We have seen the impact of so many freshmen wide receivers for Alabama, including Julio Jones, Amari Cooper, Calvin Ridley, Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III, DeVonta Smith, and Jaylen Waddle.

Williams is next in line.

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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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