Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Freshman preview: Who are the new stars on campus?

CW / Elijah McWhorter
Soccer forward Gianna Paul was the 2022 SEC Freshman of the Year.

The University of Alabama is one of the largest hot spots for college athletics in the country, with countless programs that compete at the nation’s highest level forming these championship caliber teams is through developing incredibly skilled athletes to start playing at the Alabama standard right away.  

Here is a look at the next generation of Crimson Tide superstars. 

One of the biggest stars arriving on campus in the fall is Alabama football wide receiver Ryan “Hollywood” Williams. The five-star recruit from Saraland High School in Saraland, Alabama, recommitted to coach Kalen DeBoer and the Crimson Tide Jan. 20 and has garnered significant attention for his elite skill set. According to 247 Sports, Williams finished the 2023 season with 72 receptions for 1324 yards and 26 total touchdowns. 

“He’s one of the most dynamic guys I’ve seen at receiver,” DeBoer said. “Getting the ball in his hands, he can do it on short throws and quicker-type routes, and he can do it down the field. He’s good in every way.” 

On the hardwood, the Alabama men’s basketball team has brought in five-star recruit Derrion Reid. The small forward from Prolific Prep in California is known for his aggressive offensive play style and lockdown defensive mindset that gives other schools a reason to look out for this reigning Final Four squad. 

“We are thrilled to welcome Derrion and his family to the University of Alabama,” said coach Nate Oats. “Derrion is a top-10 player in the country because of his versatility on offense and can guard multiple positions on defense.”  

The women’s basketball team also brought in a star for the upcoming year.  

Eris Lester will join the squad in the fall and adds some help to the backcourt. The four-star from Montverde Academy in Florida has been described as one of the most athletic players in the class. Her ability to score at a high volume and lock down scorers makes Lester a potential headache to any opposing coaching staff. 

“We are extremely excited to welcome Eris to Tuscaloosa!” coach Kristy Curry said. “Eris is the most athletic player and potentially has the most upside of any player nationally in the Class of 2024. She will bring versatility, athleticism, scoring ability, defensive prowess, and a will to win to our program.”  

Playing one sport at Alabama is impressive enough, but playing two is very uncommon. Amari Jefferson will be doing just that for the Crimson Tide after signing to play football and baseball for Alabama.  

The four-star wide receiver from Baylor School in Tennessee received a Mr. Football award, an accolade given to the best football players in the state. Jefferson brings a lot to the baseball diamond as well.  

He currently has an overall grade of 9.5/10 on Perfect Game’s website and is a walking highlight reel with a bat in his hands, boasting an impressive .429 batting average and a .532 on-base percentage this season. 

The Crimson Tide’s elite recruiting prowess is also very evident on the softball diamond. As a part of the 2024 class, Alabama landed the eighth-best player in the country, according to Extra Inning Softball.  

Kennedy Marceaux is an elite infielder and a two-time nominee for Gatorade player of the year. The Kaplan, Louisiana, native was also a two-time district MVP. 

Despite her home being just two states over, the tune of “Sweet Home Alabama” called her to Tuscaloosa, Marceaux said that she knew in her heart that Alabama was exactly where she wanted to be.  

The volleyball team will also be getting a superstar added to their roster in the fall, as it brought in Alabama Gatorade player of the year Hannah Parant. Parant was also ranked the No. 1 player in the state, according to The elite setter looks to bring life to a team that finished last in the SEC in 2023. 

“This group of athletes compete at an elite level and will undoubtedly bring competitive energy to our evolving program here in Alabama. Their talent and dedication are second-to-none and I have no doubt they will make a significant impact on our program,” head coach Rashinda Reed said about the entire recruiting class.  

Alabama continues to be a recruiting juggernaut, adding standout players at seemingly every position in every sport. These athletes are the next generation of Crimson Tide superstars, and it is only a matter of time before fans see some of them at the next level. 

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