Saraland’s Ryan Williams, one of the nation’s top receiver prospects, could become the first player in state history to win back-to-back Mr. Football awards next week.
By JIMMY WIGFIELD
Saraland five-star wide receiver Ryan Williams announced on social media Wednesday afternoon he has recommitted to Alabama.
“Ain’t Really Leave But I’m Back,” Williams said on X, formerly Twitter.
Williams originally committed to the Tide as a sophomore in October 2022, then decommitted shortly after coach Nick Saban announced his retirement.
Williams made two trips to Tuscaloosa last week to meet new coach Kalen DeBoer, including an official visit.
The state’s reigning Mr. Football is the nation’s highest-ranked unsigned player. He plans to sign on Feb. 9, his 17th birthday.
Williams cancelled a planned official visit to Texas this weekend, then a final visit to Auburn scheduled for Feb. 3, effectively closing his recruitment.
Williams’ recommitment is a major victory for DeBoer and his first commitment from a five-star high school recruit since taking the Alabama job. DeBoer saw a number of high-profile defections in the days after he was named the Tide’s coach, including the loss of star receiver Isaiah Bond to Texas, freshman safety Caleb Downs and five-star quarterback Julian Sayin to Ohio State and freshman offensive tackle Kadyn Proctor to Iowa.
On Tuesday, Williams said he liked DeBoer’s personality, vision and his description of Williams’ prominent role in his offense.
“He’s very down to earth, just a good human being,” Williams said. “I’ve never heard anybody say anything negative about him. He has a great record — he’s lost only 12 games. … He wants me to come in and be the guy, like the other schools. I’d play the same role I did (at Saraland) with the diversity. I’d get to do the same things I did in high school — the slot, outside, stacking, getting my hands on the ball in the running game. It would be a lot of similarities to here.”
Williams said he had three primary factors in his decision.
“One, winning,” Williams said. “Two, the family feeling. You’ve got to want to go to your job. You don’t want it to be, ‘I’ve gotta go to practice.’ You want it to be, ‘I want to go to practice.’ Then three, the stability of the team.”
Williams was considered the No. 1 wide receiver prospect in the nation in the 2025 class, the top prospect in Alabama and the No. 4 overall player in the country. After reclassifying to the 2024 class, Williams was ranked the No. 5 prospect nationally and the No. 3 wide receiver nationally, according to On3’s latest composite.
Williams finished his Saraland career with a spectacular performance in the Spartans’ 31-28 upset loss to Clay-Chalkville in the Class 6A state championship game at Bryant-Denny Stadium. He caught 11 passes for a Super 7-record 232 yards, including 63- and 77-yard touchdown bombs from K.J. Lacey, returned the second-half kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown and added a 2-yard TD run.
Williams finished his high school career with 4,568 yards of total offense and 74 touchdowns and scored on average every four snaps. He had 198 receptions for 3,486 yards and 49 TDs despite frequent double teams and ran for 1,082 yards on 98 carries and 25 TDs.
Williams is again a finalist for Mr. Football, which will be announced Tuesday. He would be the first player to win the award in back-to-back years.
(This story will be updated.)