football Edit

Ranking the States: No. 5 Alabama

Jeremiah Alexander
Jeremiah Alexander (

Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney is ranking the 10 best states when it comes to star power in the 2022 and 2023 classes. Coming in at No. 5 is Alabama.


RANKING THE STATES: No. 10 Pennsylvania | No. 9 Virginia | No. 8 Ohio | No. 7 Tennessee | No. 6 Louisiana

CLASS OF 2022 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

CLASS OF 2023 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

RIVALS TRANSFER TRACKER: Stories/coverage | Message board

RIVALS CAMP SERIES: Info/coverage on 2021 camp series




There are no five-stars yet in either the 2022 or 2023 classes but the state of Alabama being fifth on this list speaks to the potential. In both 2022 and 2023, there are numerous possible five-stars with 14 four-stars in 2022 and 15 four-stars already in a jam-packed 2023 class filled with outstanding recruits.



Shemar James
Shemar James (Chad Simmons /

For the third year in a row, it looks like Alabama will sign the state’s top prospect in four-star defensive end Jeremiah Alexander from Alabaster Thompson. It has a bunch of elite players coming through the ranks and could be a gold mine for the Crimson Tide with in-state recruiting in the coming years.

But other teams have made in-roads in the state. Florida came in and beat Alabama for Mobile (Ala.) Faith Academy four-star linebacker Shemar James although the Crimson Tide have not given up. James said he does plan to visit Tuscaloosa.

Emmanuel Henderson is a four-star who used to be ranked as a running back but has been moved to athlete because Alabama might use him all over the field. No. 4 in the state is DT Antavious Woody, who’s committed to Florida State. Arguably somewhat under-ranked is DT Justice Finkley, who has Alabama, Texas and Colorado as his top three but the word is that he’s torn between the Crimson Tide and Longhorns.

The 2022 class in the state has some great players. The 2023 class is absolutely loaded even without an early five-star. Leading the way right now is Phenix City (Ala.) Glenwood four-star cornerback AJ Harris and there are two other phenomenal corners in Alabaster Thompson’s Tony Mitchell and Florence’s Jahlil Hurley.

Harris has Alabama, Ohio State, Florida, LSU, Clemson and others involved. Alabama, LSU, Georgia, Florida and Florida State are tops for Hurley and Mitchell (who was committed to Tennessee early) has Florida State, Florida, Clemson, Texas A&M, LSU, Oregon and Alabama high.

The other top-five prospects in that outstanding 2023 class are defensive ends Kelby Collins from Gardendale and Peter Woods out of Alabaster Thompson again. Clemson, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Texas A&M and Auburn are high on Collins’ list and Woods feels like an Alabama lean but LSU, Clemson, UCF and Florida have his interest, too.



Sylvester Smith
Sylvester Smith (Chad Simmons /

... The top two prospects in Alabama’s 2022 class – defensive end Jeremiah Alexander and linebacker Shemar James – have some of the best junior film in the country and both should be under serious five-star consideration. Alexander moves so well and is a physical hitter. James is an outstanding two-way athlete with great balance, physical skills and playmaking ability on both offense and defense. Through their senior years and at the all-star events, they will be closely watched because while both are rated high, I don’t think they’re high enough.

... It’s going to be very interesting to see how things shake out atop the 2023 class. Harris, Hurley and Mitchell are all outstanding cornerbacks and while Harris is the most physical and can run so well with receivers, we need to see more of Hurley and Mitchell in person to have real confidence that we have that order correct.

... Collins is the guy I absolutely love. He’s big, commanding, unstoppable when blocked by only one offensive tackle and he has the size and ability to track people down and swallow them up. Again, seeing more of him in national settings would be very valuable to determine if he has five-star potential.

... Sitting at eighth in the state rankings for 2023 is Munford four-star safety Sylvester Smith and he’s someone who could definitely move up over the coming years. A physical, long defensive back such as Smith don’t come around very often and his ability to cover ground is really impressive. Alabama is recruiting Smith the hardest right now with Auburn, LSU, Michigan and the Florida schools pursuing as well.