Monday, June 17, 2024

Alabama football recruiting: Tide flip QB Keelon Russell from SMU in search for Jalen Milroe’s successor


Alabama secured a massive win on the recruiting trail by successfully flipping four-star quarterback Keelon Russell from SMU on Tuesday. Russell had been committed to SMU since September and flipped his commitment after taking an official visit to Tuscaloosa last weekend.

Russell’s pledge gives the Crimson Tide a potential succession plan for the post-Jalen Milroe era. He’ll likely compete with former blue-chip recruit Austin Mack, who followed Kalen DeBoer from Washington to Alabama.

“The biggest thing he was telling me was the adversity he went through getting benched to now,” Russell told 247Sports on his interaction with Milroe. “I was just like ‘yeah, that gave me something. That’s how real quarterbacks move now. You got Michael Penix, everybody at quarterback has struggled with adversity whether it is switching schools or whatnot. I feel like that was one of the biggest things for me.”

Russell ranks as the No. 39 overall player and the No. 6 quarterback in the 2025 recruiting cycle by 247Sports. In conjunction with his commitment announcment, Russell has canceled visits originally planned for Florida (June 7-9) and Oregon (June 21-23).

Over the past two years, Russell has posted a 29-1 record and led national Texas high school power Duncanville to back-to-back 6A D-1 titles. His 69.6 career completion percentage ranks best among the quarterbacks inside the Top247.

Alabama has the No. 8 recruiting class in the 2025 cycle behind Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, USC, LSU, Clemson, and Texas A&M. Russell is now Alabama’s highest-ranked pledge in that class, jumping four-star linebacker Darrell Johnson and four-star safety Derick Smith.

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