Alabama football adds top-10 WR to class of 2023, sets up historic class

Days after snagging one of the country’s best defensive linemen from Texas, Alabama stayed in the Lone Star state for its highest-rated wide receiver prospect. Jalen Hale, a four-star from Longview High, announced his commitment on Wednesday.

Nick Saban’s 2023 recruiting class continues to add big names nationwide. Hale fits that mold. The 6-foot-1, 185-pounder is ranked 51st overall on the 247Sports Composite. He’s the Tide’s ninth top-100 recruit, a group that spreads out across five states.

A three-sport athlete (basketball and track), Hale is a dynamite athlete with 31 career touchdowns and over 100 catches. Under head coach John King, Hale was one of the first Lobos in 15 years to make the varsity roster as a 9th grader. Hale is a lanky wideout that can impact the short and intermediate passing game. His best talent, though, might be his ability to post-up defensive backs and win 1-on-1 matchups on the boundary.

Hale’s primary recruiter was Holmon Wiggins, who helped secure Hale for the Tide against 34 other offers. His other finalist appeared to be Texas, the in-state favorite for a majority of Hale’s recruitment. He made multiple trips to Bryant-Denny Stadium and was on campus for the home-opener against Utah State. Hale also took an official visit to Austin for the Longhorns thriller against the Tide.

Saban and Wiggins’ security of Hale, the No. 9 receivers in 2023, shows that when Alabama wants a player, regardless of where they’re located, the coaching staff can sell them on a future in Tuscaloosa.

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Malik Benson is another ‘special’ playmaker from JUCO ranks

Hale is the third receiver in the 23-player class, joining Hutchinson (Kansas) Community College’s Malik Benson and Owasso (Okla.) High’s Cole Adams. Hale is more comparable to Benson, the top JUCO player in the cycle, as a big-play threat who will likely need to add muscle to excel in the Southeastern Conference.

With Hale in the fold, Alabama has a 247Sports class ranking of 309.14 (each prospect is given a numerical value capped at 100 based on their placement nationally). The next closest school is nearly 23 points away (Texas at 286.90) as the Tide continues to separate itself with a potentially historic batch of freshmen.

Texas A&M’s 2021 class, the highest-rated ever, came in at 328.59. Of note, there isn’t a limit on the number of scholarships teams can hand out this year and Alabama is in the mix on a handful of five-stars.

Hale continues his senior season with 4-0 Longview this Friday in the Lobos’ first home district game of the year. In a set of blowouts, Hale has a team-high 290 yards on 14 catches, including an 82-yarder.

Nick Alvarez is a reporter for the Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @nick_a_alvarez or email him at [email protected]