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Ryan Williams named Gatorade Player of the Year for second straight season; catches TD pass in Under Armour All-American Game

Saraland’s Ryan Williams has scheduled official visits to Alabama. Texas and Auburn before signing in February. He has committed to the Crimson Tide. (Call News file photo)

By JIMMY WIGFIELD

Saraland five-star wide receiver Ryan Williams has been selected Alabama’s Gatorade Player of the Year for the second straight season.

Williams (6-1, 175) — a junior who had a touchdown catch to open the scoring in Wednesday’s Under Armour All-American Game in Orlando — caught 71 passes for 1,320 yards and 19 touchdowns in 2023, ran for 269 yards and seven TDs, threw a touchdown pass and returned a kickoff and a punt for scores.

Williams reclassified into the 2024 class in December, said he remains firmly committed to Alabama and has scheduled an official visit to Tuscaloosa on Jan. 20. But he has also scheduled official visits to Texas — where Spartans quarterback K.J. Lacey has committed — on Jan. 27 and Auburn on Feb. 3. Williams has said he plans to sign with the Crimson Tide on Feb. 9, his 17th birthday.

Williams has a weighted 3.47 grade-point average and will graduate in May. He is rated the No. 4 wide receiver nationally in the 2024 class and the No. 12 overall prospect in the U.S., according to On3’s composite.

During the week of practice for the Under Armour All-American Game, Williams — at 16 perhaps the youngest player on the select list of invitees — beat Auburn signee Cam Coleman in a fastest man preliminary race before being edged by Alabama signee Jaylen Mbakwe in the finals.

Williams caught a 16-yard TD pass from Mississippi State signee Michael Van Buren to open the scoring in Wednesday’s Under Armour All-American Game and later threw to Van Buren for a two-point conversion as his Team Ice beat Team Fire 39-9.

Williams is also a finalist for the state’s Mr. Football award, which will be announced on Jan. 16. He is the first sophomore to win Mr. Football and would be the first player to win it in two straight years.

Other Gatorade Player of the Year winners include Emmitt Smith and Peyton Manning.

Williams is also a member of the Saraland High Student Council, has volunteered to help with the Special Olympics and as a youth football coach.

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