Alabama flips dual-threat 4-star QB Keelon Russell from SMU

Alabama's future at the quarterback position became clearer Tuesday when dual-threat Keelon Russell, ESPN's No. 81 recruit in the 2025 class and the No. 15 prospect from Texas, flipped from SMU and announced his commitment to the Crimson Tide.

Russell's commitment marks Alabama's first pledge from a high school quarterback under Kalen DeBoer. Russell, the four-star recruit out of Duncanville, Texas, was previously committed to SMU.

Russell's flip follows a 2024 cycle in which the Crimson Tide failed to add a passer following five-star quarterback Julian Sayin's flip to Ohio State, and Russell is now the third-highest ranked member of Alabama's 2025 class, per ESPN rankings.

Russell initially committed to SMU on Sept. 21, 2023. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound prospect told ESPN that Alabama first made contact in late January shortly after DeBoer and his staff arrived in Tuscaloosa. In a recruitment led by offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Nick Sheridan, Russell said the Crimson Tide presented him with a clear plan and maintained consistent contact through the spring before officially offering ESPN's top-ranked dual-threat quarterback in April.

"They laid out the spot for me on the depth chart -- it's something a quarterback dreams of," Russell told ESPN. "I felt like if I took the role that I could do some amazing things at high levels.

"I've been in touch with them almost every day since they began recruiting me. If not every day, then every week. They've been on me; really trying to get me there."

As of the close of spring camp, Alabama's current quarterback depth includes returning starter Jalen Milroe, sophomore Ty Simpson and redshirt freshmen Dylan Lonergan and Austin Mack.

The Crimson Tide do not have a quarterback committed in the class of 2026.

Russell pointed to the relationships he developed with the Crimson Tide's first-year coaching staff and Michael Penix Jr.'s development under DeBoer at Washington as elements that helped flip his commitment to Alabama. Above all, however, it was an open spot and the promise of a future opportunity under center in Tuscaloosa that lured Russell from the SMU pledge he made nearly 21 months ago.

"I think I knew that [Alabama] could do some crazy stuff for me," he said. "I'm going to get there and ball out for sure."