Meet the top Alabama high school football recruits in a loaded class of 2023

Jerell Rushin
The Tuscaloosa News

Alabama high school football's class of 2023 stands to be historic. There are five five-star, 17 four-star and 12 top-130 in-state recruits according to the 247Sports Composite.

Here's a look at the top 12 in-state prospects in Alabama who are among the top 130 college football prospects in the country and why Alabama, Auburn and other college programs across the country want them.

James Smith

Carver's James Smith (57) reacts to a defensive stop at Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Ala., on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2019. Carver defeated Greenville 19-13.

Carver-Montgomery

Position: Defensive line

Measurables: 6-4, 310 pounds

Offers: Include Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Ohio State, Texas A&M

247Sports Composite national ranking: No. 15 (five star)

Why he's special: Smith wrecks game plans with his burst, strength and understanding. He lines up all over the line and even had a goal-line package on offense.

The "bull in a china shop," as described by his coaches, returns to Carver a more polished defender after a year with national powerhouse IMG Academy.

AJ Harris

Central-Phenix City

Position: Cornerback

Measurables: 6-1, 180

Offers: Include Alabama, Cincinnati, Clemson, Georgia, LSU, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Ohio State

247Sports Composite national ranking: No. 18 (five star)

Why he's special: Harris is a mature cornerback with great athleticism, ranking him as the No. 2 cornerback in the country. He's a physical player who makes his AHSAA debut in Class 7A this fall after dominating in the AISA at Glenwood Academy.

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Tony Mitchell

Thompson's Tony Mitchell returns an interception as Gadsden City's Khamari Smith tracks him down Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020, at Titan Stadium.

Thompson

Position: Cornerback

Measurables: 6-2, 180

Offers: Include Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Oregon, Texas A&M

247Sports Composite national ranking: No. 20 (five star)

Stats: 55 tackles, 11 pass breakups, 2 interceptions, 1 interception return touchdown, 171 interception return yards

Why he's special: Mitchell is versatile enough to play anywhere in the secondary at the next level and has played meaningful football his entire career. His frame is as good as you’ll find in the country.

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Jahlil Hurley

Jahlil Hurley is a Class of 2023 defensive back prospect at Florence High School

Florence

Position: Cornerback

Measurables: 6-2, 170 pounds

Offers: Committed to Alabama

247Sports Composite national ranking: No. 23 (five star)

Why he's special: The quick cornerback is a smart, savvy player who understands the keys to cornerback, but may grow enough to play safety. He excels in press coverage with his length.

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Peter Woods

Thompson defensive end Peter Woods (11) pursues a play during the 7A state championship game in Birmingham Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr]

Thompson

Position: Defensive line

Measurables: 6-3, 260

Offers: Include Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Oregon

247Sports Composite national ranking: No. 26 (five star)

Stats: 92 tackles, 26 tackles for loss, 30 hurries, 11 sacks, 1 interception return touchdown, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery, 1 blocked field goal

Why he's special: The physical defender can fit anywhere on the defensive line in any scheme. Woods' burst, hands strength and athleticism make him arguably the top high school player in Alabama.

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Jaquavious Russaw

Carver

Position: Edge

Measurables: 6-2, 230

Offers: Include Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Miami, Texas A&M

247Sports Composite national ranking: No. 37 (four star)

Stats: 130 tackles, 27.5 tackles for loss 16 sacks

Why he's special: Russaw's track speed makes him one of the top edge defenders in the country. With Smith back and demanding attention, Russaw has more room to destroy offensive game plans this fall. He can also play linebacker.

Christopher Vizzina

Christopher Vizzina visits Clemson before the game with Wake Forest at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, South Carolina Saturday, November 20, 2021.

Briarwood Christian

Position: Quarterback

Measurables: 6-4, 210 pounds

Offers: Committed to Clemson

247Sports Composite national ranking: No. 52 (four star)

Stats: 2,065 yards passing, 16 touchdowns passing, four interceptions, 600 yards rushing, 15 touchdowns rushing

Why he's special: Vizzina is a tall quarterback who throws well on the run and excels at deep passes. He can burn defenses if there's nobody underneath to account for his legs.

Kelby Collins

Gardendale

Position: Defensive line

Measurables: 6-5, 280

Offers: Include Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee

247Sports Composite national ranking: No. 69 (four star)

Stats: 109 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 17 sacks, 2 forced fumbles

Why he's special: The massive defensive lineman has one of the rarest combinations of height and weight in the nation on the defensive line, steadying growing in his career.

Tommarion Parker

Central-Phenix City

Position: Defensive line

Measurables: 6-4, 255

Offers: Include Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, Penn State, Tennessee

247Sports Composite national ranking: No. 83 (four star)

Stats: 78 tackles, 27 tackles for loss, 15 sacks, 10 hurries, 4 forced fumbles, 2 touchdowns

Why he's special: Parker is one of the state's most prolific players, as he's racked up numbers for years at 7A Central with his burst of the edge. He mainly plays standing up but isn't far off in size to play with his hand in the dirt.

Karmello English

Central wide receiver Karmello English (2) returns a kick during the 7A state championship game in Birmingham Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr]

Central-Phenix City

Position: Wide receiver

Measurables: 5-11, 175

Offers: Include Alabama, Auburn, Kentucky, Florida, Penn State

247Sports Composite national ranking: No. 102 (four star)

Stars: Four

Stats: 70 receptions, 1,059 yards receiving, 18 touchdowns receiving, 65 yards rushing, 2 touchdowns rushing, 21 total touchdowns

Why he's special: The top receiver in the state's strengths are finding soft spots in defenses, breaking tackles and running after the catch with physicality.

Keldric Faulk

Highland Home

Position: Defensive line

Measurables: 6-5, 240

Offers: Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Tennessee

247Sports Composite national ranking: No. 112 (four star)

Why he's special: Faulk is a great athlete who lives behind the line of scrimmage. The basketball star gets off the defensive line in a hurry and is a matchup nightmare when he lines up to catch passes.

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Hunter Osborne

Hewitt-Trussville

Position: Defensive line

Measurables: 6-3, 250 pounds

Offers: Include Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, LSU, Miami, Oklahoma, Oregon, USC

247Sports Composite national ranking: No. 129 (four star)

Stats: 74 total, 15.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, 16 hurries, 9 pass break-ups

Why he's special: The big defensive lineman blows up plays in a variety of ways, strong enough to win with strength but fast enough to run by blockers. It's tough to escape Osborne's hold once he gets hands on ball-carriers.

Jerell Rushin is a recruiting reporter for the Tuscaloosa News and the USA TODAY Network. Reach him at jrushin@gannett.com and follow him on Twitter at @JerellRushin_.