How did Alabama sign Ryan Williams in 2025 to move from backup QB to dynamic WR?

Where did Saraland and Alabama 2025 star Ryan Williams go to celebrate being named the state’s Mr. Football on Thursday night?

Dinner?

Home?

Disney World?

nope Actually he went back to work.

“He asked me right after his name was announced, ‘Are we still training tonight?'” his father, Ryan Williams Sr., said after Thursday’s luncheon banquet in Montgomery.

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That signature work ethic has propelled the younger Williams from an inexperienced backup quarterback two years ago to one of the state’s most dynamic, playful wide receivers as a 15-year-old sophomore.

He doesn’t take breaks. He doesn’t take shortcuts.

“I’ve been with him since the jump — all workouts in the backyard,” his dad said. “Honestly putting in all the work is now paying off. As a football lover, if you see a kid working and he gets told to get away, that’s a win.

“But as a father I am so proud. I shed a tear when his name was called just because I knew it was worth it. The road wasn’t entirely smooth. There were hills and valleys. To see him get to the top and want to keep working…I’m proud of him.”

The younger Williams was responsible for 42 touchdowns in 2022 as Saraland won the Class 6A state title 14-1. He is the first sophomore Mr. Football and only the second non-senior to win in the award’s 41-year history.

“God willing, I plan to win it again next season,” he said with a smile.

Saraland coach Jeff Kelly jumped at a chance two years ago, moving Williams from the backup quarterback role to wide receiver after seeing him run offseason passing routes with a teammate.

“I’ll be honest. I wasn’t too big on it,” Williams said of the position change. “I’ve played quarterback my whole life, and it was just like, ‘Well, I think I’m going to try receiver.’ Now I love it and it’s like second nature.”

His father said he didn’t mind the move.

“He always worked to be a great football player,” Williams Sr. said. “It just so happened that he was always a quarterback on his team. You want the ball in the hands of your best players when you play on young teams, so he played quarterback. I told him that if you want to increase your value, you must always be on the field. Versatility keeps you on the field. He went for it, accepted the challenge and it paid off.”

The Class 6A Back of the Year caught 88 passes for 1,641 yards and 24 touchdowns during the Spartans’ title run. He also ran 57 times for 700 yards and 15 TDs, threw a touchdown pass and scored on two punt returns.

And he still can’t drive himself to practice or games.

Williams won’t be 16 until next month.

“Whatever comes to him is based on hard work,” Williams Sr said. “You can take away all the prizes, but you’ll still have the work. He knows he has to earn it every time.”

Although his father signed with Auburn from BC Rain High School in Mobile, Williams committed to Alabama in October.

“It just felt right,” he said of his decision. “Not just at the moment, but every time I’ve been back up there. They just kept showing me love.”

Williams Sr. was also a wide receiver in high school before then-defensive coordinator Will Muschamp moved him to Auburn’s defensive end. He finished his college career at Louisiana Tech.

He said he was “cool” with his son’s decision to play for the Crimson Tide.

“It is his decision. It’s his life,” he said. “I just want him to be happy. The times have changed. The state of football has changed since I came out in 2007. He has to go to school and live on campus and go to training, not me, so whatever he wants to do, I’m good at it.

When asked if he could have covered his son when he was young, Williams Sr. only hesitated for a moment before shaking his head.

“I would probably say no,” he said. “He’s light years ahead of where I was when I was 15. Kids are doing so much more now when it comes to training. The game has changed.”

Jimmy Stein, a team expert for On3’s Bama Insider, compares Williams to former Alabama Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith.

“Ryan reminds me a lot of something I said earlier about DeVonta Smith — I’d say, ‘I don’t know where DeVonta is right now, but I can promise you he’s open,'” Stein said. “This is Ryan. He is open. He wins separation like Kobe Bryant creating his own shot. Then he ends the game with gentle hands and he scores. It takes a great player to be Mr. Football as a sophomore. And he’s amazing. The supporting cast help.

“But Ryan is unique.”

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