From Arch Manning to name, image and likeness agreements, the 2023 recruiting year was one of the crazier recruiting cycles in recent memory. Yet, there’s a familiar program sitting at the top of the class rankings.
Nick Saban and Alabama football recaptured the top spot on nearly every recruiting service after a No. 2 finish last year. The Crimson Tide are still in the mix for a few blue-chip recruits, but the majority of work was settled in the days leading up to the early signing period. On Wednesday, prospects signed their letters of intent and officially became the future of the dynasty.
Here’s the Alabama football class of 2023.
The quarterbacks: Eli Holstein
Zachary (La.), 4-star
No. 74 nationally per 247Sports Composite, No. 9 QB
Accurate and agile, Holstein will be a part of the quartet of throwers looking to replace Bryce Young next fall.
What Nick Saban thinks of Alabama’s 2 QBs in 2023 class
Brookwood (Ga.), 4-star
No. 140 nationally, No. 10 QB
Will Lonergan be a two-sport athlete for the Crimson Tide? Regardless, the strong-armed Lonergan provides upside at the position.
The running backs: Justice Haynes
Buford (Ga.), 5-star
No. 25 nationally, No. 3 RB
A Georgia Bulldogs legacy, Haynes has NFL-caliber vision. Give him the ball and watch him make people miss.
Lehigh (Fla.), 4-star
No. 48 nationally, No. 4 RB
Young is a one-cut threat who managed his carries in a stellar high school career. The 5-foot-11, 200-pounder will make a claim for carries on day one.
The pass-catchers: Malik Benson
Hutchinson (Kansas) CC, 4-star
No. 1 JUCO, No. 1 WR
Can Benson solve the Tide’s lack of a number-one receiving threat? With excellent route running, Benson should be a good outlet for whoever starts under center.
Longview (Tx)., 4-star
No. 40 overall, No. 7 WR
An elite athlete, Hale can continue a trend of first-year receivers to earn playing time.
FW (Fla.) Bucholz, 4-star
No. 285 nationally, No. 39 WR
A speedster, the 6-foot-1, 188-pound Hamilton can be a threat to score anytime he gets a touch.
Owasso (Okla.), 4-star
No. 304 nationally, No. 42 WR
A shifty option out of the slot, Adams scored 13 touchdowns as a junior with over 1,000 all-purpose yards.
Independence (Tenn.), 4-star
No. 235 nationally, No. 13 THE
A big-bodied weapon in the passing game, Alabama has found another tight end that could deploy in multiple ways.
The offensive linemen: Kadyn Proctor
Southeast (Iowa) Polk, 5-star
No. 12 nationally, No. 2 OT
The Tide’s mid-week stunner, Alabama secured a top-flight tackle that can anchor the offensive line for years.
No. 77 nationally, No. 8 OT
The closest recruit geographically to Bryant-Denny Stadium, Formby is a 6-foot-7 Tide legacy.
Loomis (Conn.) Chaffee, 4-star
No. 191 nationally, No. 16 OT
The lone international recruit, Alinen is from Finland, he’s part of new offensive line coach Eric Wolford’s wave of acquisitions.
East (Ill.) St. Louis, 4-star
No. 200 nationally, No. 18 OT
A 6-foot-6, 358-pound bruiser, McVay adds depth to the trenches.
Ryquez ‘Rock’ McElderry
No. 376 nationally, No. 23 IOL
The lone guard in the class at 6-foot-3, 340-pounds, McElderry was one of the first flips Alabama earned. He was originally committed to Georgia.
The kicker: Conor Talty
St. Rita (Illi)., 3-star
No. 2 per kicking expert Chris Sailer
The Will Reichard era is over. Enter Talty, a strong-legged 6-foot-1, 195-pounder.
The secondary: Caleb Downs
Mill Creek (Ga.), 5-star
No. 6 nationally, No. 1S
Alabama pulled two of Georgia’s top recruits after losing the national title to Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs. Downs is a do-it-all safety and the highest-rated recruit overall.
No. 54 nationally, No. 5S
Mitchell’s decision was speculated on until his announcement. An adept tackler, Tuscaloosa will get to see the next steps in Mitchell’s development.
No. 38 nationally, No. 4 CB
The 6-foot-2, 170-pound lockdown corner in high school may transition to STAR or safety as Saban alluded to for most of the secondary recruits during his signing day press conference.
Saban names ‘one of the most difficult positions to find’ in recruiting
Ocean Springs (Miss.), 4-star
No. 334 nationally, No. 15 ATH
A dynamic athlete, Hubbard starred as a quarterback in Mississippi. He’ll deploy his 6-foot-2, 190-pound at safety for Alabama.
The linebacker: Justin Jefferson
Pearl River (Miss.) Community College, 4-star
No. 2 JUCO, No. 1 lb
The Tide signed one linebacker and he’s a 6-foot-1 thumper who led Pearl River with 55 tackles this season.
The edge rushers: Keon Keeley
Berkeley Prep (Fla.), 5-star
No. 10 nationally, No. 1 EDGE
At 6-foot-2, 242-pounds Keeley looks like what you’d imagine a prototypical pass rusher would look like. With an array of pass moves and power in his lower body, Keeley is one of the best recruits Alabama could’ve added this cycle.
GW Carver-Montgomery, 5-star
No. 22 nationally, No. 3 EDGE
With each opportunity, Russaw has shown he’s nearly impossible to block one-on-one. He has one of the highest ceilings among the signees.
No. 59 nationally, No. 8 EDGE
One of the fastest-rising prospects following a stellar senior year, Pierre projects as an impact addition to Holmon Wiggins’ defense.
The defensive line: James Smith
GW Carver-Montgomery, 5-star
No. 18 nationally, No. 2 DL
The other half of Alabama’s signing day wins, Smith has been regarded as one of the country’s elite defensive linemen whether at Carver or IMG (Fla.) Academy.
Tyler Legacy (Texas), 4-star
No. 62 nationally, No. 7 DL
The 6-foot-3, 245-pound Renaud can factor as a three-technique in college.
No. 144 nationally, No. 17 DL
With strong hands, Osborne tore apart offensive lines in high school and will look to develop the same at the next level.
North Kansas City (Mo.), 4-star
No. 182 nationally, No. 24 DL
Hill can be a force in stopping the run if he’s able to progress his 6-foot-3, 290-pound frame while developing in Tuscaloosa.
Nick Alvarez is a reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @nick_a_alvarez or email him at NAlvarez@al.com.