The level of football in the state of Alabama continues to increase, and that’s certainly echoed via the amount of top-ranked Yellowhammer State recruits in the On3 Industry Ranking.
Schools from all over the state are churning out elite prospects, as the importance of recruiting in the backyard continues to increase for Alabama and Auburn. While it’s not the size of a California or Texas, Alabama continues to punch its weight on the recruiting trail.
With the conclusion of the 2024 class upon us and all major recruiting services having locked in their rankings, On3 looks at who the top 10 recruits in Alabama are and where they’ll begin their college football careers.
1. WR Cam Coleman – Auburn
On3 Industry Ranking: No. 4
School: Central Phenix City
Scouting Summary: “Cam Coleman is a twitched-up receiver with projectable size and length who is arguably the most physically-gifted pass catcher in the 2024 cycle. Projects as a dynamic X wide receiver. Measured in at 6-foot-3.5, 185 pounds with a 33.5-inch arm in the spring prior to his senior season. Tested as a rare athlete during the spring camp cycle. Pairs his athleticism and length to result in a large catch radius. Shows the ability to make eye-popping acrobatic grabs in contested situations. Adjusts to low and wide throws. Frames the ball at the catch point, using good technique. Flashed a relatively advanced release package off the line of scrimmage in the camp setting along with the burst and long-speed to separate on Friday nights. Has the long speed to separate downfield against top corners.
…Runs with toughness after the catch. Has a shorter stride length for a taller wide receiver. Doubles as an electric above-the-rim athlete on the basketball court. Young for the cycle, not turning 18 years-old until his freshman season of college. Does not have the same level of gaudy production as some other top-ranked 2024 wide receivers as he split targets with Michigan signee Karmello English as a junior. Has shown several signs of a very high developmental upside along with a rapid spike in his development over the course of his junior year.”
2. WR Ryan Williams — Alabama
On3 Industry Ranking: No. 5
Scouting Summary: “Ryan Williams was the most productive and athletic wide receiver in high school football as a sophomore. Turned in an utterly dominant season in 2022. Measured around 6-foot, 160 pounds in the spring following his sophomore season. One of the fastest wideouts in the nation, regardless of class. Posted a scintillating 10.49 second 100-meter time early on in his sophomore track season. A legitimate state title contender in four track events – the 100, 200, 400 meters and high jump. Shows the ability to harness his elite speed on the football field. A big-time deep threat who easily runs past defensive backs. Has high-end change of direction and breaks off cornerbacks with agility within his routes.
…Caught 88 passes for 1,641 yards and 24 touchdowns, ran for 700 yards and 15 touchdowns on 57 rushes (12.3 yards per carry), returned two punts for touchdowns and passed for a score while leading his high school to a state title as a sophomore. Was named Alabama’s Gatorade Player of the Year following the historic season. Was the On3 MVP at Under Armour’s Atlanta camp prior to his junior season. Looks like one of the top pass-catchers in high school football regardless of class and is the top wide receiver prospect from Alabama since Henry Ruggs III. Will need to continue adding strength and mass to his slender frame.”
3. CB Jaylen Mbakwe — Alabama
On3 Industry Ranking: No. 16
School: Pinson Clay-Chalkville
Scouting Summary: “Jaylen Mbakwe is one of the more dynamic two-way athletes early on in the 2024 cycle. Has starred on both sides of the ball for one of the top high school programs in Alabama. Measured at a shade under 5-foot-11 and around 170 pounds with a 30.5-inch arm and 8.25-inch hand. Has outstanding play speed, which he backs up on the track. Won the Alabama state titles in the 100m (10.70 seconds) and 200m (21.57 seconds) as a junior. Pulls away in the open field, easily out-running defenders. Dynamic with the ball in his hands both as a receiver and return man. Also shows the ability to separate on vertical routes. Has several kicks for touchdowns. Spent much of his time on offense as a junior, despite projecting as a cornerback long-term. Was a productive defensive back as a sophomore with high level ball production, totaling 4 interceptions and 12 pass breakups. Has a smaller, slighter frame and will need to continue honing his technique once he fully focuses on playing cornerback.”
4. EDGE Jordan Ross — Tennessee
On3 Industry Ranking: No. 20
School: Birmingham Vestavia Hills
Scouting Summary: “Jordan Ross is an athletic EDGE prospect with the physical ability to develop into a dangerous pass rusher. Measured in 6-foot-4.5, 215 pounds with a 33.5-inch arm prior to his senior season. Registers as a top athlete in the combine setting. Lines up all over the field for his high school. Works on the edge and as an off-ball linebacker at times. Makes most of his plays as a pursuit defender, using his athleticism and range to track down plays from sideline-to-sideline. Has palpable burst and play speed. Needs to improve his technical skill as a pass rusher and increase his play strength, base and anchor. Flashes his athleticism as a basketball player. Younger for the cycle with a May birthday.”
5. WR Perry Thompson — Auburn
On3 Industry Ranking: No. 48
Scouting Summary: “Perry Thompson is a big-framed pass catcher with some of the best physical tools among receiver prospects in the 2024 cycle. Measured at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds prior to his junior season. Has high-end length for the position with a 33.5-inch arm. Runs well at his size, showing the separation skills to get vertical and beat double coverage. Tracks the ball well with the ability to locate the ball over his shoulder for high difficulty grabs. Makes plays from the outside and in the slot. Flashes good change of direction as a route-runner on Friday nights and in the 7-on-7 setting. Makes plays after the catch and as a return man. Shows competitiveness and toughness as a two-way player. Productive in a high volume role as a junior, catching 87 passes for 1,059 yards and nine touchdowns.
…Does not benefit from a loaded supporting cast. On the lower end of yards per catch among his highly-touted peers with 12.2 yards per reception as a junior. Has turned in some encouraging personal best track times over high school career but can continue to consistently transfer that over to the field with his play speed and the track as the times tend to vary. Still putting his tools together but has the upside to be one of the better receivers in a strong crop at the position in the 2024 cycle.”
6. LB Demarcus Riddick — Auburn
On3 Industry Ranking: No. 67
School: Clanton Chilton County
Scouting Summary: “Demarcus Riddick is a smooth moving linebacker with one of the more well-rounded games at the position in the 2024 cycle. Measured at 6-foot-2, 220 pounds prior to his senior season. Has continued to fill out his frame over the past year of high school. Has adequate length for the position with 32-inch arms. Strong in all phases as a linebacker. Stands out due to his natural fluidity and strong instincts for the position. Outstanding in coverage. A natural in space. Diagnoses routes easily. A sticky defender on Friday nights and in the camp setting. Can run and stay in-phase with tight ends and running backs. Effective as a blitzer and run defender.
…Plays with a high effort level and flies around as a pursuit defender. Diagnoses and keys quickly. Highly productive as a junior, notching 109 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, 7 sacks and 3 interceptions. Shows off his athleticism and playmaking ability taking kicks and punt returns for touchdowns. Also plays some offense. Has a basketball background and can throw down dunks on the hardwood. Does not have verified athletic markers compared to some of his highly-rated peers.”
7. DL Jeremiah Beaman — Alabama
On3 Industry Ranking: No. 79
School: Birmingham Parker
Scouting Summary: “Jeremiah Beaman is a pass rushing defensive lineman with the potential to grow into a disruptive force on the interior. Measured at a shade under 6-foot-4, 250 pounds in the off-season prior to his senior year. Has solid length with a wing-span around 6-foot-7.5. Big-jointed with a big frame that should be able to add weight. Has 10.5-inch hands. Lines up on the interior, at defensive end and as a pass rusher out of a two-point stance on Friday nights. Has upside as a pass rusher along the interior. Shows good instincts coming off the ball with his first step. A flexible athlete and uses his length and hands to get past offensive linemen. Capable of taking on and beating double teams. Plays with good effort in pursuit. Finished his junior season with 10 sacks, which is on the higher end for blue-chip defensive linemen. Also throws the shot put, with a best of 41-9 feet as a junior. A very good player who is a solid, not elite athlete at this stage.”
8. RB Kevin Riley — Alabama
On3 Industry Ranking: No. 85
School: Northport Tuscaloosa County
Scouting Summary: “Kevin Riley is a consistent between the tackles runner that has excellent balance and body control. Has the footwork to dance in and out of traffic as well as the hip fluidity and reactive quickness in order to make defenders miss in space. Vision is tremendous and possesses the necessary burst and acceleration in order to explode through gaps and contact to reach the second level. Possesses the forward body lean and pad level in order to finish runs and consistently fall forward on contact. Has the second gear in order to pull away from most defenders at the next level but not a consistent home run hitter.
…Will need to add weight throughout his frame in order to be a 3-down back at the college level and beyond but should be able to carry the weight with ease. Comfortable enough pass catcher of the football to function as a receiving option but not someone who has a lot of reps with route running and working at the line of scrimmage. Very high floor prospect who could develop into a 3-down player at the next level after adding the necessary weight in order to become a bell cow for a collegiate offense.”
9. EDGE Joseph Phillips — Auburn
On3 Industry Ranking: No. 121
School: Tuskegee Booker T Washington
Scouting Summary: “Joseph Phillips is a long, big-framed linebacker with the versatility to create disruption as a pass rusher and be a physical presence as a run defender. Measured in at 6-foot-1.5, 235 pounds prior to his senior season. Has outstanding length, registering a 6-foot-10 wing-span – among the best we’ve seen from 2024 linebacker prospects. Primarily played as a standup pass rusher as a junior, but looks to be primed for more of an off-ball inside linebacker role as a senior. Uses his quickness and length to create disruption off the edge. Heavy-handed and powerful. Plays with leverage and gets off of blocks. Shows dogged effort and pursuit speed in tracking down plays from the back side. As an off-ball linebacker, projects as a thumper against the run.
…A talented, big athlete who also sees time as a pass catcher on Friday nights. Finished his junior season with 75 tackles, 19 tackles for loss and 9 sacks. Also plays basketball, where he’s shown some above-the-rim bounce. Will need to settle in to playing in space. His pure speed looks to be more notable as a pass rusher than an off-ball linebacker, relative to his peers at each spot. Will need to continue improving in coverage and adding consistency as a tackler.”
10. WR Bryce Cain – Auburn
On3 Industry Ranking: No. 154
School: Mobile Baker
Scouting Summary: “Bryce Cain is a smaller wide receiver at 5-foot-11 170 pounds, but he is a blur on the field. He was seen running below a 4.4 40 during Auburn’s Elite Camp last Friday. Cain does most of his damage before the catch. He is not able to break many tackles or make too many people miss, but he can outrun them nine times out of ten, and that should not change on the collegiate level. Cain is a slot receiver without question. He is not a versatile option as far as moving around the formation at different positions. He will be good for motions and jet sweeps, but will still in the slot at Auburn. Cain has a lot of speed, but is better suited to win with his route running rather than as a screen guy out in space. He can run any of the short routes or he can take the top off with a deep route.” — via Auburn Live’s Cole Pinkston