With Trevon Diggs out of eligibility and heading to the NFL, it was vital that the Crimson Tide find a replacement cornerback opposite Patrick Surtain. Alabama may have just found one in Hutchinson Junior College’s Ronald Williams.
At Ferriday (LA) High School, Williams was a skinny 6’2, 160-pounder playing quarterback and defensive back in a small town across the Mississippi River from Natchez, MS. His high school career went unnoticed by almost everyone except for an assistant at Hutchinson who just happened to have been born in the same little Louisiana town and still had family in the area. Initially, there was little interest. After his senior season got rolling, the coaches took a look at his highlight reel and made him an offer to walk-on in the fall with the promise of a scholarship by spring. Being his one and only offer, he took it.
At the time of his juco commitment, he told a local reporter “I just feel great about the opportunity. I’m anxious to get going again. I need to get faster and stronger, but that’s what I’ve been doing this summer. I’m just grateful for this door opening for me. I’ve got a lot to prove.”
Williams used his time in Kansas wisely, learning all he could and bulking up to a muscular 188 pounds (just look at that neck!). He helped lead the Blue Dragons to a 10-2 record and the highest ranking in school history at No. 3. Williams’s main appeal to his Hutch head coach was that he played quarterback in high school which requires extra skills and knowledge of the game. His instincts paid off as the former signal caller transformed into a team leader and a NJCAA first-team All-American as a sophomore. His coaches credit Williams for being humble, a hard worker, and for buying into the system.
As you can see from his reel, Williams has elite man-on-man skills. He has excellent vision, getting good reads on balls as well as identifying plays and reacting.
Williams had offers from two dozen FBS schools, including eight SEC schools and Oklahoma. He took official visits to Alabama, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and Kentucky before choosing the Crimson Tide over the Aggies. Cornerbacks coach Karl Scott is his Bama recruiter.
Outside of Surtain, who will suddenly be a rising junior (where does the time go?), the Tide will return a young group in the secondary. Gone are seniors Diggs, Shyheim Carter, and Jared Mayden, as well as junior Xavier McKinney who most likely enters the NFL Draft.
Below is the projected list of defensive backs for the Crimson Tide in 2020. The class represents the year they will be in the coming season. For some of the younger players, the position could change.
- Jr. Patrick Surtain - returning starter at corner.
- So. Jordan Battle - reserve safety with four starts, projected starter.
- Jr. Josh Jobe - reserve corner with one start (Duke).
- R-Jr. Daniel Wright - reserve safety with no starts.
- Jr. Eddie Smith - reserve safety with no starts.
- R-So. Jalyn Armour-Davis - reserve corner with no starts.
- So. DeMarcco Hellams - reserve safety, played in 12 games mostly special teams.
- So. Marcus Banks - reserve corner, played in 7 games mostly special teams.
- R-Fr. Scooby Carter - reserve corner, played in 3 games.
- R-Fr. Brandon Turnage - reserve corner, played in 1 game.
- Fr. Brian Branch - projected safety
- Fr. Malachi Moore - projected safety
- Fr. Kristian Story - projected safety (or back-up QB)
- Fr. Jahquez Robinson - projected corner
As you can see above, Alabama has plenty of warm bodies, but not much in the way of significant secondary playing time. Surtain likely flips to the left side leaving the right corner spot and the Star positions to be filled. With two full years of playing time under his belt, Williams has an excellent chance at seizing one of these positions in the fall. He will be enrolling in January.
Alabama now has 25 commits.