Ryan Williams: That’s the Tide Love
Alabama has been hot on the recruiting trail lately, with Kalen DeBoer landing this generation's Julio Jones. Ryan Williams, a five-star wide receiver from Saraland, Alabama, gave Coach DeBoer his stamp of approval.
Williams was committed to the Crimson Tide since October of 2022 and was actively recruiting for Alabama in the 2025 class. Williams reclassified to the 2024 class in December following the state championship game, where he scored four touchdowns for the Saraland Spartans in the losing effort.
The five-star prospect burst onto the scene as a sophomore with 1,641 receiving yards, 700 rushing yards, and 39 total touchdowns while leading Saraland to a state championship. In his junior campaign, Williams had 1,324 receiving yards, 261 rush yards, and 26 total touchdowns as the runner-up to the state champions. Williams won Alabama Gatorade Player of the Year in both seasons.
However, things began to shift away from the Crimson Tide in Williams's recruitment shortly after the Rose Bowl. Alabama wide receiver coach Holmon Wiggins left for the same position at Texas A&M, and then the bombshell retirement of Nick Saban forced Williams's hand to de-commit from Alabama. Things only worsened when his primary recruiter, Travaris Robinson, left Alabama for Georiga.
Then Greg Byrne hired Kalen DeBoer.
DeBoer took less than two weeks to land a re-commitment from the No. 6 player in the country according to Composite. In his commitment post via Hayes Fawcett of On3 Sports, Williams said "Welcome to the DeBoer Era."
On Thursday, Williams went on The Game with Ryan Fowler to talk about his commitment to Alabama and his relationship with head coach Kalen DeBoer. Here's what he said:
Ryan Fowler mentioned that Tuscaloosa blew up "like they just won a national title" when Williams announced his commitment. Ryan Williams said, "Facts man, that just shows you the love that the fanbase has. I'm just ready to be a part of that. And just to let everybody know, the era has just begun."
Williams emphasizes family and highlighted how important they were to his recruiting process, "Since I've been getting recruited, and even before then, my family has always been behind me and all my decisions. The more brains that are thinking, the better off you'll be, so just everybody adding in their input and just listening to my circle, we've always come up with the right idea. It's been going good. Family is definitely a big part of me and who I am."
Williams also said Alabama helped his sibling feel welcomed to the Capstone, "Alabama was the only school that really did that. Even them being able to come, that was rare. They welcomed them with open arms, and that's the difference between the Tide family and these other schools."
On Coach Saban's retirement, "The easiest way to put it was, 'if he's out, I'm out.' That's what went through my mind because we had built that relationship with me being recruited by him for the past two years. In my head, I had already decided I was going to play for Coach Saban and my state."
New Crimson Tide head coach Kalen DeBoer reached out to Williams pretty quickly and made him a priority, "I think it was the first or second day on the job. As soon as it got cleared that he was the head coach, that night... We talked every day. We've spoken every day since he's been named the head coach. That's something that I felt prioritized and I could be the guy to bring in his era."
Williams already has built a relationship with Coach DeBoer, "He's the most down-to-earth, humble, he's very true to himself and who he is. He's not worried about anybody else's opinion, and he knows how to win. It just so happens he likes to throw the ball, so it's an automatic click for me. And he played my position in college, so he knows what he's talking about when it comes to the receiver position."
Ryan Williams went back to watch the Washington tape from Kalen DeBoer, Ryan Grubb, and JaMarcus Shephard, "Most definitely. I saw the stats, they threw for roughly 5,000 yards. Outside of that, just going back and looking at the tape and seeing that they didn't have a guy like me, but they had a couple of guys that had similarities to me, and just seeing all the different ways they scored and touched the ball, it just connected the dots for me."
On Ryan Grubb, "He and Coach Debo have been together for the past few years, so they're starting up the offense just as good as it can get. The confidence I have in his offense is crazy. Talking to him, the confidence he has in me and my ability, just like Coach Debo, they'll make me a better person and a better football player."
Williams called WR coach JaMarcus Shephard "his dawg." "I talk to Coach Shep every day. Honestly, I probably talk to the whole staff every day since they're been staff."
Williams told the coaching staff that he would be on with Fowler.
He called the recruiting process stressful, "It is, but it's not a bad stressful. All the work that's put in up to this point, it's a gift. It's a good thing that everybody wants you because not a lot of players get this opportunity, so when you think about it like that, it's not really stressful, but it is."
On canceling his visits to Texas and Auburn and shutting down his recruitment, "You got to put your big boy pants on, especially as a 16-year old. It's a little hard, but it's a part of life so it's good I'm learning tp do it now."
Williams told Fowler he wants to major in sports psychology.
Williams when talking about his connections on the team, "I'm close with a lot of guys. but honestly, the person that I probably have built the best relationship with is a freshman. Bak, Jaylen Mbakwe. We talk four times a day. We talk all the time. Just with the entire team, they've always been open arms to me. There's never been a situation where I was like, 'Dang, do I really want to come here?' Everybody's for everybody."
Williams has spoken with the current Alabama starting quarterback, "I've talked to Milroe a couple of times. I don't talk to him as much as I talk to a couple of the other guys, but I talk to him a good bit. Every time I'm down there. We've worked out together twice in the summer. We were talking about working out again soon. I'm excited to be around him."
His dad gave him the nickname 'Hollywood." The reason? "I always put it on my stuff and everybody asking, so it kind of stuck."
Arguably the most anticipated question of the day, what number with Kalen DeBoer's Julio Jones wear? "I do believe I'll be wearing number two. The deuce is loose."
To Alabama fans, Williams said, "I appreciate y'all. Stay tuned in, because the Debo show is intact. Roll Tide."
2023 SEC Championship Alabama vs. Georgia
Gallery Credit: Crimson Tide Photos/ UA Athletics