MADISON, Ala. — Kyriq McDonald was on commitment watch for Alabama last Friday as he attended the team’s invite-only cookout, but he knew heading into that visit that he wouldn’t be a part of the Crimson Tide just yet.
McDonald, a 3-star defensive back from James Clemens High School (Madison, Ala.), told SEC Country that he was still making his final observations at the time. Shortly after returning home, he knew Alabama was going to be the place for him.
Kendall Randolph, a 4-star offensive guard from Bob Jones High School (Madison, Ala.), reached out to McDonald to see what his commitment plans were. That’s when the two long-time friends decided to commit to Alabama together in a commitment video.
“He’s just family, man,” McDonald said. “Not only did he want me to do the video with him, our families wanted us to do it together because of how long we have known each other.”
Now that McDonald is on board, he has one goal in mind. On every visit he has taken to Alabama, McDonald sees the 16 national championship display and thinks to himself how he can help contribute to that total when he gets to Tuscaloosa in 2017.
“I am ring-chasing,” McDonald said. “That’s what hard work gets you — rings. Hard work pays off.”
All the 5-foot-11, 185-pound prospect knows is hard work. After fantastic performances in camp this spring and summer, McDonald earned his offer from Alabama on June 18. Even before that date, he knew the Crimson Tide would eventually offer because McDonald knew the work he put in to get to that point.
“I grew up in a single-parent home and worked for everything I have,” McDonald said. “Everything I got, I worked for. I’m strong-minded. I had it in my mind that I was going to play football and be somebody. I wasn’t going to stay in Madison and stay home. I was going to make it.”
Not only is the new Alabama commit an impressive player on the field, he also excels in the classroom. He possesses a 3.5 GPA and has aspirations of majoring in mechanical engineering or computer science when he gets to Alabama.
McDonald’s commitment for Alabama is also important for another reason. He has two teammates at James Clemens who could potentially end up in Alabama’s class: 4-star defensive end LaBryan Ray and 3-star linebacker Monty Rice.
He thinks it’s likely that those guys join him in Tuscaloosa in 2017.
“We’re all family. We all grew up with each other,” McDonald said. It would be a surprise if they didn’t go to Alabama with us. Kendall, LaBryan and I grew up playing together and then Monty transferred to James Clemens and we all became close.”
The Alabama staff loves McDonald’s versatility. It’s one of the reasons why the team started prioritizing him recently. The Tide’s plans for him include playing him at star (sixth defensive back in Alabama’s dime defense), free safety, strong safety and on the kick and punt return teams.
Though McDonald has accomplished one of his main goals, he has his eyes set on his next goal.
“I haven’t let off the pedal yet,” McDonald said. “I’m not going to until I finish making it. I’m playing as a freshman. You can catch me on TV.”
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
Chris Kirschner covers Alabama football recruiting for SECCountry.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play in Bryant-Denny.