As the 2021 college football season comes to an end, the annual personnel carousel roars to life.
In November, the plug was finally pulled on DB Marcus Banks’ time in Tuscaloosa. He would later commit to transfer to Mississippi State. WR Xavier Williams will be back in Tuscaloosa next fall. However, it will be as a member of visiting Utah State.
At the end of the regular season, LB Jackson Bratton and OL Pierce Quick were the next two Tide players to hit the transfer portal. Quick has already announced that he is heading to Georgia Tech. Bratton has yet to decide on his future though there are some rumors surrounding UAB.
This week brought news of several Tide players also announcing their intentions to transfer.
- QB Paul Tyson (completed Year 3 with a RS) - announced to Arizona State
- OLB King Mwikuta (Year 3, no RS) - announced to Arkansas State
- OLB Drew Sanders (Year 2, no RS) - announced to Arkansas
- OL Tommy Brown (Year 4 with a RS) - announced to Colorado (1/20/22)
- TE Jahleel Billingsley (Year 3, no RS) - announced to Texas
- WR Javon Baker (Year 2, no RS) - announced to Kentucky (1/21/22)
- LB Jaylen Moody (Year 4, no RS)
- LB Shane Lee (Year 3, no RS) - Southern Cal
Though unlikely, the possibilities of any of these players returning to Alabama still exists as we saw with Mwikuta last year.
On Thursday, LB Jaylen Moody joined the exodus but he has a different set of circumstances. Back on November 20, the Crimson Tide honored several players on “Senior Day” before playing Arkansas. Below is the full list of honorees with comments from an earlier posting.
Christopher Allen - (Fifth year, three full seasons plus two years injured) A starter at linebacker who was expected to have a big year. Suffered a season-ending injury in the season opener against Miami. If healthy, he could be a contributor somewhere.
Josh Jobe - (Fourth year, all full seasons) Became a full-time cornerback starter in 2020. Has had some on-field issues this season and replaced by freshman Kool-Aid McKinstry on Saturday.
Phidarian Mathis - (Fifth year, four seasons plus a redshirt) Became a full-time defensive line starter in 2020. Has little to gain by coming back, should enter the NFL Draft.
Jaylen Moody - (Fourth year, all full season) A fan favorite at linebacker who never got much of a shot at starting. Could still be a valuable contributor or a starter for Alabama or some other team next year.
Chris Owens - (Sixth year) No more eligibility.
Kendall Randolph - (Fifth year, four seasons plus a redshirt) A part-time starter as a blocking tight end/fifth tackle.
LaBryan Ray - (Fifth year, four seasons plus a redshirt) Hampered by injuries throughout his career. Former 5-star is a starter on the defensive line when healthy but won’t be drafted very high if at all.
Brian Robinson - (Fifth year, all full seasons) No more eligibility.
Major Tennison - (Fifth year, four seasons plus a redshirt) Forgotten tight end who has seen very little playing time this season.
Daniel Wright - (Fifth year, four seasons plus a redshirt) Became a starter in the secondary in 2020 but lost his job by the end of the season. Has filled in this season and played a great deal in all four seasons.
One would assume that these players’ inclusions in the “Senior Day” festivities were pretty good indicators that none of them would be coming back to Tuscaloosa for Super-Senior seasons, though they could land elsewhere. Jobe and Mathis have already announced for the NFL Draft. Current Super-Seniors, Robinson and Owens are now absolutely positively out of college eligibility.
ANNOUNCED FOR THE NFL DRAFT
The following Tide players have announced their intentions to enter the NFL Draft:
- OT Evan Neal
- WR Jameson Williams
- WR John Metchie
- CB Josh Jobe
- WR Slade Bolden - has earned a master’s degree.
- DL Phidarian Mathis
- CB Jalyn Armour-Davis
- LB Chris Allen
- LB Christian Harris
- MLB Henry To’o To’o
- DL DJ Dale
- DB DeMarcco Hellams
- S Jordan Battle
- DL Byron Young
- OG Emil Ekiyor
- TE Cameron Latu
TO BE ANNOUNCED
A few other Alabama players with eligibility remaining have yet to make any kind of formal announcement.
CB Jalyn Armour-Davis
LB Christian Harris
- Could one or more of the Senior Day participants return? UPDATE: Kendall Randolph.
NEXT MAN UP
Normally this time of year, the front page of RBR would be plastered with recruiting stories, but there are none to be told. By all appearances, it seems like Saban is done with recruiting high schoolers for the Class of 2022 - though there could be a surprise or two.
Alabama has 13 Early Enrollees including future superstars EDGE Jeremiah Alexander and QB Ty Simpson.
In addition to the nation’s #2 recruiting class, the Crimson Tide has already rescued dynamic all-purpose back Jahmyr Gibbs from Georgia Tech and former All-Freshman defensive back Eli Ricks from LSU. Both of these transfers are enrolled at the Capstone and working with the team. Tide fans could see Nick Saban further dip into the transfer pool in the coming weeks and months.
So far, only cornerbacks coach Jay Valai has left the Tide coaching staff. New Sooners head coach Brent Venables stated that Valai will serve as Oklahoma’s co-defensive coordinator/pass defense and will coach both cornerbacks and nickel backs.
Valai was the primary recruiter on 4-star RB Jamarion Miller and a secondary on 4-star DB Earl Little. However, he also struck out on some high-profile prospects including 5-star WR Evan Stewart and 5-star DB Denver Harris both of whom signed with Texas A&M. 2021 was Valai’s lone season on the Tide staff.
Rumors have it that Bama WR coach Holmon Wiggins was being wooed by Notre Dame. As a result, he received a pay increase to stay at Alabama.
Crimson Tide OC Bill O’Brien has been connected to some of the openings in the NFL, with Jacksonville in particular. He was said to have interviewed with the Jags on Wednesday, but it has been awfully quiet ever since.
- JAN. 18 UPDATE: LaBryan Ray accepted an invitation to play in East-West Shrine Bowl.
- JAN. 18 UPDATE: Kendall Randolph will be back for a Super-Senior season.
- JAN. 19 UPDATE: Word has it that Miami CB coach Travaris Robinson is expected to join the Tide. He would replace Valai.
- JAN. 19 UPDATE: Also making the Twitter rounds is news that Ole Miss special teams coordinator Coleman Hutzler is also expected to come on board. However, there are no reports on whose place he is taking. Drew Svoboda is the current ST coach.
- JAN. 19 UPDATE: It doesn’t look like BOB is getting the Jax gig.
- JAN. 20 UPDATE: Tommy Brown is heading to Colorado.
- JAN. 20 UPDATE: 247sports is reporting that Jaylen Moody will remove his name from the TP and stay at Alabama for an addition Super Senior year.
- JAN. 20 UPDATE: OLB coach Sal Suneri is expected to move to an off-the-field role at Alabama. Hutzler will coach the outside linebackers and special teams. Svoboda will only coach tight ends. He is not expected to leave.
- JAN. 21 UPDATE: Javon Baker is packing for Kentucky.
- JAN. 23 UPDATE: Shane Lee will be heading west to the Southern Cal mirage.