It would have been a big moment for any high school football player. Reigning champion Cocoa High School made it all the way back to Class 2S state championship game in Florida, and knocked off previously undefeated Bradford, 20-6.
But then defensive end/pass rusher Javion Hilson decided to make it a little bigger when he subsequently made his commitment to play for the Alabama Crimson Tide and Nick Saban on social media.
He's the ninth player in Alabama's recruiting Class of 2025, which is the consensus frontrunner in the early team rankings by various services. It includes another elite pass-rusher, Zion Grady out of Troy, Ala.
A 6-foot-4, 225-pound junior is considered one of the elite edge rushers in the nation, which has become a defensive staple of the Crimson Tide. The roster has recently included the likes of Will Anderson Jr., Dallas Turner and Chris Braswell.
The signing Class of 2022 included Jihaad Campbell and Jeremiah Alexander, who were the consensus No. 1 and 5 pass-rushers that year, respectively, and in 2023 it added Keon Keeley and Yhonzae Pierre, collectively rated first and fourth, plus Qua Russaw.
The Alabama defense could heavily rely on all of those players next season. The Class of 2024, which can sign during the early period beginning on Dec. 20, includes Sterling Dixon our of Spanish Fort, Ala.
Hilson's various rankings:
Hilson was credited with 90 tackles this season, including 26 for a loss and 14 sacks. He had offers from numerous top programs including Florida, Florida State, Georgia.