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Underrated Players in Alabama’s Underrated #3 overall Recruiting Class

Alabama probably won’t have the #1 recruiting class this year. The horror.

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With National Signing Day just around the corner, Alabama fans could be forgiven for seeing “only” three 5-star players in the recruiting class and wondering if this is a down year for the Tide (Of course, Alabama’s current class as-is would rank as the clear cut best of all time for Auburn).

I mean, sure, Julian Sayin, Ryan Williams, and Jalen Mbakwe all look like guys who are potentially transcendent talents. But what about the rest? Are they just a bunch future depth pieces for Alabama?

Considering I ended the last paragraph with a leading question, you can assume that the answer is a resounding “no,” and I will spend the next few minutes of your day getting you excited about some of the future Alabama players who aren’t as big of names.

First of all, this is my usual reminder that I think it’s ridiculous that TE Caleb Odom is not a five star player. On3 views him as a top 30 player, but the other recruiting services still have him ranked in the 60s and 70s. But he’s the best receiving TE that Nick Saban has recruited - including OJ Howard and Amari Niblack. He may not have quite the ridiculous speed of Howard, but he’s 10x more polished at this point in his career and is already an amazing route runner and contested-catch winner. That said, he’s the 5th-ranked player in Alabama’s class, so he’s not that under the radar.

  • Moving on, defensive back Dre Kirkpatrick Jr is a legacy name that all Alabama fans will recognize, but despite his 3-star status, Dre is going to be a long-term stalwart on special teams as a do-it-all kind of guy. Interceptions, fumbles, blocked punts, whatever it is, Dre Jr. is always getting his hands on the ball somehow.
  • At linebacker, Justin Okoronkwo is the type of player who could become first round draft pick, or could be a total bust. The German is a former soccer player and gymnast who is still fairly new to football... But he runs a 4.5 forty yard dash to go along with an astounding 4.0s short shuttle. As a pure athlete, he may well be the best athlete on the entire team from day 1 on campus.
  • There’s also Sterling Dixon out of Spanish Fort, AL. Nick Saban has consistently gotten good results from linebackers from the Mobile area, and Dixon is a guy that had an utterly dominant 18 sacks in his junior season with Mobile Christian, then transferred up to Spanish Fort (7A vs 3A competition) and followed it up with 15 sacks and a ridiculous 128 tackles as a senior. There’s a lot to like about this guy, and seeing him working his way up the competition and performing just as well at a large schools as he did at a smaller one is very encouraging.
  • As we move further up the rankings into the less underrated, lineman Casey Poe is arguably the best interior blocker in the entire country, and has only fallen outside of the top-100 because the recruiting rankings all hate any OL that aren’t tackles. Again, I’ll give On3 a pass here for ranking him #48. Poe is the kind of guy with the size, athleticism, and polish that I could see him pushing for a starting spot from the day he walks into Tuscaloosa.
  • Finally, I want to point out WR Amari Jefferson. Like Poe, he’s still a strong 4-star player, though ESPN and Rivals both have him out of the top 200. Jefferson is listed at 200 pounds, but has been playing closer to 210. He’s sort of a hybrid RB/WR who’s an absolute monster on screen passes, jet sweeps, and just generally breaking tackles in the short and intermediate parts of the field. He’s absolutely one of, if not THE, best RAC guy in the entire class. Deebo Samuel will be the popular comparison as the current elite NFL with a similar skillset, but even if he’s not on that level, he’s going to be a unique weapon for Alabama for years.

Stay tuned as we move into signing day, as Alabama may pick up another couple of commitments, and we at RBR will be keeping you updated. For now, this should be enough to pique your excitement for the upcoming class.

Roll Tide!