College football recruiting rankings: Alabama locks up No. 1 class on National Signing Day 2023
For the third time in six years, the annual college football recruiting crown was won by the Alabama Crimson Tide. Coach Nick Saban ended his sterling class on Wednesday on the traditional National Signing Day, clinching first place in the 247Sports team standings for the Crimson Tide with a class totaling 327.68 points.
Alabama’s class includes a record nine players rated as five-star prospects, according to 247Sports, including EDGE Keon Keeley (No. 3 overall), offensive lineman Kadyn Proctor (No. 5 overall) and the safety Caleb Downs (No. 8 overall). ). A total of 11 of the top 100 players in the country will travel to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where they are already on campus.
The Stellar class is ranked third all-time in the 247Sports team rankings behind only last year’s class at Texas A&M (328.59) and the 2021 class at Alabama (327.76). Indeed, the top three recruiting classes of all time have been signed over the past three cycles.
Keeley (6-foot-5, 242 pounds), a Berkeley Prep School prospect in Tampa, Fla., committed to Alabama on Dec. 12 and signed with the Tide nine days later. Andrew Ivins, director of scouting for 247Sports, touted his potential.
“Already quite muscular and well developed in the upper half, but should only continue to fill out over the next few years and has a chance to add about 25 pounds,” Ivins wrote. “The type of pass rusher who has shown he can attack the corner with speed and power.”
Downs (5-foot-11, 197 pounds), a prospect from Mill Creek High School in Hoschton, Georgia, was named National MaxPreps Player of the Year and Georgia Gatorade Player of the Year following the 2022 season.
“First of all, he’s a great person,” Saban said in December. “A really smart football player. Football means a lot to him. And the guy is a great competitor, he loves to compete. Their team won the state championship. With the team he played with all the time, and they won the state championship in Georgia, which is a significant accomplishment. I just think he’s the right kind of person. He has leadership qualities that are hard to find, and the guy is really a lot of talent physically to be able to evolve into something special.”
Saban will be looking for a new quarterback in 2023 after the departure of Bryce Young, and first-time four-star registrant Eli Holstein may have a shot at the job. The 6-foot-4, 222-pounder from Zachary High School in Louisiana is ranked No. 148 overall in the class. He threw for 52 touchdowns over the past two seasons and scored 23 more on the ground. Gabe Brooks, national scouting analyst for 247Sports, provided this Holstein scouting report.
“Effective in the short to intermediate passing game thanks to the plus speed,” Brooks wrote. “Shows an ability to fit in the window in these situations. Generally accurate and consistent with these levels. Improved runner as a junior with noticeably better functional athleticism as a scrambler. Not a dancer in the sense of an extension of the game, but climbs very well in the pocket and shows a burst in a straight line when you decide to go in and run in. Athletic enough to keep defenses honest and get a run designed here and there.
How good is this class? Every high school player Saban has signed this cycle is a five- or four-star prospect except one: Three-star Conor Talty, the nation’s No. 2 kicker.