Class of 2023 Alabama football recruit Keon Keeley has been likened to a recent Crimson Tide NFL-bound great, linebacker Will Anderson, by 247Sports director of recruiting Steve Wiltfong.
Wiltfong predicted Keeley will make an immediate impact, as Anderson did during the Crimson Tide’s championship season in 2020, during All-American Bowl practice week. “Keon Keeley has been perhaps the most dominant pass rusher at this game since Will Anderson, who dominated this event three years ago,” Wiltfong said on January 4. “He’s physically ready to make an impact in Tuscaloosa.”
Keeley, the No. 4 overall recruit in this cycle, was set to attend Notre Dame before Nick Saban made him a class-changing addition on December 12. He’ll be joining the defensive line while also providing punishment to opposing offenses from the box. In that vein, he’ll be helping to fill in the play-making gap that Anderson is leaving behind.
Alabama Football Recruit Keon Keeley’s Game Explained
Wiltfong is high on the physical attributes of Keeley, who attends Berkeley Prep in Tampa, Florida. He painted a picture of Keeley’s game that Alabama football fans can simply only salivate over.
“Just a very quick, tenacious pass rusher that often makes the offensive linemen look like they’re standing in concrete,” Wiltfong said. “If [Keeley] doesn’t win with his quick first step, he’s also won with his motor and his ability to just get off blocks and be a factor in that regard. The No. 1 edge rusher in the country has been as advertised.”
With many worried about the end of the Nick Saban dynasty, hearing Crimson Tide recruits described in such a manner is a reminder that though there could be second-guessing about the play-calling and coaching staff’s defensive schemes, there is never a doubt that the top talent in the country almost always tend to end up in Tuscaloosa.
2023 Alabama Football Recruiting Class Is Historical
Recruiting in the SEC has become so competitive that the nation’s top recruiting class in each of the past three years has come from the conference — and has ranked as one of the top three of all time, based on 247Sports’ metrics. Nick Saban owned two of them, with Texas A&M’s 2022 class being at the top. As a conference, the SEC owns nine of the top 10 slots.
As the SEC’s famous mantra says, it just means more.
When it comes to where the most recent Tuscaloosa-bound group places historically, Texas A&M’s 2022 cycle comes in at No. 1 all time and Saban’s 2021 record-breaking Alabama football recruiting class ranks ahead of Alabama’s 2023 cycle. With that said, the Crimson Tide were still deemed a winner on Early National Signing Day.
“It really can’t be understated how impressively Alabama finished off its 2023 class,” On3’s Keegan Pope wrote on December 21. “The Crimson Tide held off beat Ohio State for five-star EDGE Keon Keeley, held off a late push from the Buckeyes for five-star safety commit Caleb Downs, and kept Georgia at bay with five-star running back commit Justice Haynes. And that was all before signing day even began. Barring a miracle unlike anything we’ve ever seen in recruiting, Nick Saban and Co. locked up yet another No. 1 recruiting class on Wednesday.”