Alabama’s red-hot recruiting run continued Monday as three-star offensive lineman Ryqueze McElderry became the seventh player to commit to the Crimson Tide in the last two weeks.
McElderry had been committed to Georgia since November but announced he was reopening his recruitment over the weekend. While the Anniston, Ala., native grew up pulling for the Crimson Tide, the biggest factor in his Fourth-of-July flip stems from his relationship with first-year offensive line coach Eric Wolford.
“Coach Wolf was one of my very first offers when he was at South Carolina,” McElderry told BamaCentral. “He’s been recruiting me since the ninth grade, so the relationship has always been there. He’s built a really good relationship with me and my mom.
“Another deciding factor was Coach Wolf’s ability to work with offensive linemen and his track record of putting offensive linemen in the NFL. Not just him, but Alabama has a history of putting guys in the NFL. Coach Saban also made me a priority. He came by my school this year, and he was always calling me and checking in.”
McElderry’s flip doesn’t come as too much of a surprise. Even while committed to Georgia, the offensive lineman hinted at his interest in the Crimson Tide, calling Alabama his dream school back in February.
“I was taking my visits to other schools to see what really fits for me,” McElderry said. “After I took all my official visits, I knew Alabama was the one.”
McElderry, listed as 6-3, 340 pounds, took an official visit to Auburn in May before officially visiting Georgia and Tennessee last month. He plans on using his fourth official visit to Alabama this fall but said he won’t be making any college trips outside of Tuscaloosa from here on out.
“I’m done with recruiting,” McElderry said. “I’m committed now, and it’s over with. I’m on schedule to enroll early, and I can’t wait to get there. Roll damn Tide!”
Alabama didn’t begin to show interest in McElderry until late last year, offering him on Nov. 19, less than two weeks before he committed to Georgia. Since then, the Crimson Tide has been hot on his trail, remaining in constant contact while hosting him for multiple unofficial visits. Alabama plans to use the 6-foot-3, 340-pound lineman at the guard position.
“They see a lot of power in the way I play, and they say I’ve got really good feet,” McElderry said. “They need somebody on the inside to seal blocks and just clothesline people. Coach Saban was saying he loves the way I just power past people, and he needs that in his run game.”
McElderry is Alabama’s second offensive line commit in the 2023 class, joining four-star offensive tackle Wilkin Formby, a Tuscaloosa native, who committed to the Crimson Tide on June 20.
“Wilkin’s like a brother to me,” McElderry said. “That’s my guy. He’s been recruiting me a lot. He’s always been there for me, and I’ve always been there for him. We’ve got a little brothership, and we’re really cool with each other. I know we’re going to be great teammates together.”
While McElderry will have to wait until January to team up with Formby on the field, the two have already discussed joining forces on the recruiting trail this fall. Alabama is still in the mix for several top offensive linemen in the current cycle, including five-star offensive tackle Samson Okunlola and four-star tackles Olaus Alinen and Miles McVay.
“Oh we’re going for some guys for sure,” McElderry said. “We definitely have a few in mind.”