Alabama Crimson Tide 2023 Big Board: Tight end
The biggest challenge for Alabama in the 2023 class, much like wide receiver, is working against the numbers in the previous class. The Crimson Tide signed three tight ends in 2022: Amari NIblack, Elijah Brown and Danny Lewis Jr. Alabama may have different plans on how it will utilize each player, but the numbers will play a factor when it comes to recruiting.
Alabama has not extended many scholarship offers at the position. This is possibly a mixture of things which includes the depth of the 2023 tight end class, plans to only sign one which equates to more selective and/or bringing in a new tight ends coach, Joe Cox, who has not been announced yet.
This is an early look at the top tight end targets for Alabama. Expect more names to enter the equation in the coming months as evaluations continue.
It’s likely hard to find a more impressive athlete anywhere in the country than Duce Robinson. The three-sport (football, basketball, baseball) superstar did not begin playing football until his freshman year. Many saw his future on the baseball diamond, and it's something which will weigh heavily on his college choice.
Robinson visited several schools last summer including Alabama. He took fall visits to Arizona State, Clemson, Oklahoma, USC and Washington. The Crimson Tide visited his high school in January and expects him to return in Tuscaloosa this summer.
Robinson will not take many spring visits, if any at all. He is considered one of the best baseball players in the country and might decide to go the MLB route if he is a high draft pick next spring. Robinson plans to play both sports if he goes the college route to start his career.
His father, Dominic Robinson, played football and baseball at Florida State. Robinson does not claim any favorites at this point. He will go through basketball and baseball season before really focusing on his recruitment. Robinson recorded 60 receptions for 972 yards and eight touchdowns during his junior season.
Alabama hopes it can lure more players from northern California to Tuscaloosa to go along with former five-stars Jonah Williams and Najee Harris. Williams, who played at Folsom High School, will play in the Super Bowl this weekend as the starting left tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals.
Walker Lyons hails from the same high school as Williams. He received an offer from Alabama last spring. Lyons had a very productive junior season with 42 receptions for 646 yards and seven touchdowns.
Coach Saban visited his high school in January as he was making the rounds on the West Coast. Lyons took his first visit with Alabama in November for the home win against LSU.
"The visit was amazing,” Lyons told BamaInsider. “Every coach to every staff member and assistant involved with football recruiting was super awesome and really made me feel welcomed and wanted.
"The city of Tuscaloosa gave me a good vibe overall and seemed like a good college town I could see myself living in. The energy itself pre-game was the craziest thing I have ever seen by far, and to hear 100,000 people screaming was something I’ll never forget.
"I love the winning history of the program and how high the expectation as a student-athlete there really is. They’re going against the best every day which is awesome."
Lyons has a top 11 of Alabama, BYU, Michigan, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Oregon, Stanford, Texas, UCLA, USC and Washington. He expects to return to Alabama this spring or summer.
Mac Markway surprised many when he committed to Florida last July. He re-opened his recruitment after Dan Mullen was fired. He took visits to Iowa and Miami in January. He took an unofficial visit to Alabama last summer where he earned an offer from the SEC Champions.
"Everything was first class," Markway said about participating in the Nick Saban Football Camp. “Coach Saban lays it all out on how to be successful. The facilities are insane. The support staff is incredible."
His father, Matt, played tight end for the Iowa Hawkeyes between 1996-1999. Iowa has been considered the front-runner since he decommitted from the Gators, but several others are in the mix. Alabama continues to show heavy interest in Markway and on a return visit Tuscaloosa in the next few months.
Flanagan didn't post big numbers during his junior season (15 receptions, 285 yards and a touchdown), but college coaches see size, ability to create space when given the opportunity, hands, and one who knows how to block.
The West Coast native committed to Notre Dame in September. Alabama extended an offer last month. Several others have been pushing hard to get Flanagan to visit including Cal, Michigan, Tennessee, Utah and Washington
His commitment to the Irish appears solid despite Brian Kelly's departure to LSU. He is considering visits to other schools including one to Alabama.
"The offer from Alabama was awesome," Flanagan told BamaInsider. "I am super honored to be recognized by this program. Coach Saban and his team are unreal. I don't have any plans to visit right now, but I feel like I need to at least visit at some point."
Flanagan also mentioned he watches most of Alabama's games and his family has the SEC Network. He is recruited by Alabama wide receivers coach, Holmon Wiggins
"Their offense looks like an NFL-type of offense for sure," he said. "They used the one tight end (Cam Latu) in the championship game. He had a great touchdown too."
One of Arch Manning's favorite targets on his high school team is Will Randle. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound athlete is a talented in his own right and has earned offers from schools across the country. Alabama extended an offer last month.
“I think Will has such a rare skill set,” his head football coach, Nelson Stewart, told Orangebloods (Rivals Texas site) in the fall. “You know when you look in the NFL and you see those tight ends that can flex in and flex out? You can put him in the backfield as a fullback, you can move them all over. He has tremendous hands and catches almost everything you throw at him.
“His route running is good. He goes in and out breaks well, and he hasn't even reached his top speed (yet). He's a three-sport athlete. As much as Arch, (Will) has redefined our offense. And you know, obviously we build things off Arch, but the structure of what we do and how we do it is go to Will Randle. I can't say enough good things about him.”
Randle doesn't do many interviews, much like his teammate and the No. 1 player in the country (Manning). He visited Alabama, Georgia, LSU and Ole Miss during the season. Both of his parents attended the University of Alabama. LSU,
Randle went straight into playing basketball after the conclusion of his football season. He is expected to visit several schools throughout the spring and summer including a return visit to Alabama.