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A-List No. 12: Bama commit Ryqueze McElderry loves being a lineman

The A-List is AL.com‘s ranking of the top 15 senior prospects in the state of Alabama. We will count down one each day until No. 1 is revealed Aug. 17.

Ryqueze McElderry had fun being a top football recruit in Alabama. He has fun every Friday night getting ready to strap it on for the Anniston Bulldogs.

He enjoyed taking his recruiting visits, liked national champion Georgia enough to announce he would play college football in Athens … before he changed his mind and committed to the University of Alabama on the Fourth of July, likely a cause for fireworks in Tuscaloosa.

The 6-foot-3½, 335-pound offensive tackle (expected to shift inside in college), who is No. 12 on AL.com’s A-List, said he likes joking around – until gametime.

“I might laugh, but when I’m playing in a game, I go from the ‘funny, goofy Ryqueze’ everybody knows to another person that nobody’s seen before,” he said. “I can be laughing and talking to my teammates before the game, but when I’m locking in and getting ready and it’s time, I’m a whole different guy.

“There’s no more laughing. It’s like a light switch. I get quiet and straight to the point. I know one thing about myself: I’m not soft. I don’t think too much about being a tough guy on the line. You can’t play soft when you’re playing football.”

McElderry, ranked a four-star prospect by Rivals.com and a three-star by 247sports.com, has the athletic ability to step right in and contribute his high school coach said.

“He can walk up to a basketball goal and dunk flat-footed,” Rico White said. “He’s very athletic. He loves the game, he loves his position on it. Normally you’d have to persuade a guy to play lineman, but he loves it. He’s tough and he can run. Ryqueze brings a lot to the table.”

White also praised the 17-year-old for his character and leadership.

“He comes from a great family,” the coach said. “His mother [Markesha Montgomery] did an excellent job raising him. She holds him to a higher standard and, believe me, he lives by it. You tell him to go get this done and he does it. He knows what it means to be a professional player.

“That kid, he’s ready for the next level. He has the size, speed and intangibles that pro athletes have.”

Anniston’s Ryqueze McElderry throws the shot put during day 2 of the AHSAA 4A-7A outdoor track and field championships in Gulf Shores, Ala., Friday, May 6, 2022. McElderry finished fifth in the event. (Marvin Gentry | preps@al.com)

McElderry said since he started playing football at around age 5, he’s always been playing with his hand in the dirt. “I was always the biggest player on the team.” A starter for the Bulldogs since the ninth grade, McElderry is a two-time Alabama Sports Writers Association first-team All-State selection.

“I love playing up on the line,” he said. “Knowing the job I’ve got to do and what is required of me, I get to do whatever I want with somebody in front of me. There’s action every play. As long as I’m putting somebody through the dirt, it doesn’t matter to me if it’s a run or a pass.”

McElderry has taken dual enrollment classes at Gadsden State Community College and will graduate early. “I want to carry my team to the state title,” he said. “After that I’ll leave in December and I’ll be on a playoff team getting ready for whatever bowl game we’re going to. I’m not nervous about going to Alabama; I have the mindset of getting there and doing what I’m supposed to do. Before that, I have to do what I have to do while I’m still at Anniston.”

A-LIST NO. 12: RYQUEZE McELDERRY, ANNISTON

Position: offensive lineman

Height/weight: 6-3½, 335.

College status: Committed to Alabama.

Randy Kennedy’s scouting report: Ryqueze McElderry was committed to Georgia, was a major priority for Auburn and is now headed to play for Alabama. To be an all-conference interior offensive lineman in the SEC he will want to get down to about 320 pounds. That should happen once he gets to college.

THE 2023 A-LIST

#15: Bradyn JoinerOL, Auburn

#14: Jeremiah CobbRB, Montgomery Catholic

#13: Hunter OsborneDL, Hewitt-Trussville

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