Why Alabama assistant JaMarcus Shephard expects Ryan Williams will succeed 'right away'

New Alabama football co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach JaMarcus Shephard didn't hold back his praise for his new freshman receiver, Ryan Williams.

Shephard, who joined Tide100.9 on Tuesday, called Williams "an elite human being."

"He is somebody, immediately we gravitated toward each other," Shephard said. "We kind of felt each other's energy. Knew that we could work well together. He's a sponge. He's dialed in, focused and wants more. He wants to be coached at a high level. He's not a prima donna that's going to be frustrated because I'm having tough coaching for the guy. He can take tough coaching. It's super rare for a kid who's really 16, just turned 17 years old. He's super young, and most people don't really recognize how young the kid is."

Shephard said because of Williams' skill sets, he anticipates Williams will experience success "pretty early on" in Tuscaloosa.

"I really truly believe that for him," Shephard said. "It's his ability to be a sponge and be excited about playing the game that's really going to allow him to be successful right away."

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Williams was the back-to-back Mr. Football winner in Alabama the past two seasons. The Saraland product reclassified to the 2024 recruiting class and signed with the Crimson Tide in February.

Williams decommitted from UA when Nick Saban retired, but new Alabama coach Kalen DeBoer was able to convince him to re-commit. Now Williams, a five-star receiver, will have a chance to make a quick impact for the Crimson Tide if Shephard's words are any indication.

Nick Kelly is the Alabama beat writer for The Tuscaloosa News, part of the USA TODAY Network, and he covers Alabama football and men's basketball. Reach him at or follow him @_NickKelly on X, the social media app formerly known as Twitter.

This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: Ryan Williams: Why JaMarcus Shephard expects him to succeed immediately