By Terrin Waack

Special to

During his high school years, Kyriq McDonald’s mother used to wake him up in the mornings. Now, at the University of Alabama, he doesn’t have that luxury.

So, the four-star defensive back relies on his cell phone to do the dirty work.

“I wake up before my alarm anyway,” McDonald said.

Adjusting to college life hasn’t been difficult for McDonald. He is one of the 12 early enrollees who arrived in January to start classes and participate in preseason workouts and spring football practice. The group will later gain 14 others to round out the Crimson Tide’s 2017 No. 1 recruiting class.

After he arrived, it took McDonald just a week to settle in and get used to his surroundings. He ended up picking business as his major and started being recognized as a collegiate athlete.

This was his life now.

“I’m not a normal person in high school anymore,” he said. “Everybody’s just coming up and knowing your name.”

McDonald arrived ranked as the No. 24-ranked safety in the nation. Within the Alabama borders, he was rated as the No. 16 overall prospect.

During his final season at James Clemens High School, McDonald made 66 tackles with 12 for a loss. He added three interceptions and 11 pass breakups. The year prior, he recorded 70 tackles, eight interceptions and six pass breakups. He also scored 10 non-offensive touchdowns.

“We want to continue to try to get as many players from our states as we possibly can,” UA head coach Nick Saban said. “It’s very competitive in our state to get players.”

There are seven new Alabama natives. Two others – Kendall Randolph and LaBryan Ray – are even from the same hometown as McDonald.

That’s the same number of other defensive backs, too. McDonald is one of just three overall and the only early enrollee at the position. He already knows Saban normally works with that group.

“It takes discipline and hard work,” McDonald said. “That’s how you’ll get on the field.”

Although McDonald has a lot of personal goals, they all boil down to competing and showing what he has to offer. The dedication and determination he showed during high school he believes will carry over into college.

Also, if it comes down to it, McDonald is willing to flip positions. He knows it’s all up to Saban, and he will do anything asked of him. There will be no arguments.

“Yeah, I’m an athlete,” McDonald said.

Listed at 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds, McDonald doesn’t have an exact weight he’d like to be at before spring practice. He knows he wants to lose fat and gain muscle, but that’s about it.

One thing’s for sure: McDonald is simply eager to start.

“It’s a blessing just to be here,” he said. “I’m already here now. I’m enrolled. So I’m just ready for a spot.”