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Leaving & Staying: What Alabama Offense Might Look Like Next Season

Some tough decisions are coming up for several Crimson Tide players.

NCAA Football: Alabama Spring Game
Will Ty Simpson send Jalen Milroe packing?
Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

With the advent of the free agent transfer rule, bonus super senior years, and the always prevalent act of Tide players leaving for the NFL Draft after three seasons, Alabama football will have a very different look next season. Nick Saban has not been shy about swiping players from other teams such as Jameson Williams, Henry To’oTo’o, and Jahmyr Gibbs.

Saban has also used the bonus year clause, but sparingly. He has only used two on each of the last two teams in Brian Robinson and Chris Owens in 2021, Kendall Randolph and Jaylen Moody this season. Of those, it could be said that only B-Rob was a home run move. So, the assumption that Saban will bring back every redshirt senior is a short-sighted one.

In addition, the Tide might sign as many as 30 newcomers to the 2023 recruiting class. Scholarships will be precious.

Many Crimson Tide players and the Tide staff will have big decisions to make in the coming weeks as to their future of playing football. Below is the best guess at who stays and who leaves the Alabama program after the season, broken down by position:

(Classes are the current statuses)

QUARTERBACK

Alabama has two quarterbacks coming into this next class and I expect both to follow through with their commitments and sign with the Crimson Tide. This will help with depth should two quarterbacks leave.

  • Bryce Young JR - NFL: Possibly a top 5 pick.
  • Ty Simpson FR - STAYING: Top candidate for starter in 2023.
  • Jalen Milroe R-FR - ? A great runner but he was a bit erratic with his arm this year. If he leaves, it might be after spring practice when things become more clear. I’d advise him to change positions, running back or tight end.

RUNNING BACK

Two 5-star studs will be signing in December.

  • Jahmyr Gibbs JR - NFL: This guy is made for the NFL. Probably a second or third round pick.
  • Jase McClellan JR - STAYING: Is he next year’s feature back?
  • Roydell Williams JR - ? I would think he stays but he’ll never be a feature.
  • Jamarion Miller FR - STAYING: Great promise, needs more PT.
  • Trey Sanders R-JR - TRANSFER PORTAL

WIDE RECEIVER

This one is a little tougher. In 2021, Alabama found themselves short-handed at the position late in the season and Nick Saban vowed not to let that happen again. Thus, they have a deep group of young talented receivers.

  • Jermaine Burton JR - ? He came on strong in the last few games, but he could use another year of seasoning. However, it is very possible he could test the NFL waters.
  • Traeshon Holden JR - TRANSFER PORTAL: He had 6 touchdowns but all in blowout games. He often disappeared in the big games. Is it time for him to move on to another team or might he try for the NFL?
  • Ja’Corey Brooks SO - STAYING: Potential to be the next big ace receiver at Alabama if he can stay consistent.
  • Isaiah Bond FR - STAYING: Getting better every week.
  • Kendrick Law FR - STAYING: Improving, had all of his receptions in November games.
  • Kobe Prentice FR - STAYING: A surprise starter early in the season, led all Tide freshmen in receptions and yards.
  • JoJo Earle SO - STAYING: He needs a full year to show what he can do.
  • Shazz Preston FR - STAYING
  • Emmanuel Henderson FR - STAYING
  • Aaron Anderson FR - STAYING: An injury kept him out all year. Bama could have used a guy like him in the slot this year.
  • Tyler Harrell R-SR - ? He previously used his redshirt at Louisville and is a fifth year player. He has been injured most of this past year and did not play until October 22. Could Saban bring him back for a bonus year? If he is healthy and still has that breakaway speed, it could benefit both parties.
  • Christian Leary SO - TRANSFER PORTAL: Lost in the shuffle.
  • Thaiu Jones-Bell JR - TRANSFER? Passed up by younger players.

TIGHT END

  • Cameron Latu R-SR - NFL: Although he has a bonus year, he likely heads to the pros and some team will draft him on Day 3 (Rounds 4-7).
  • Robbie Ouzts SO - STAYING: Beast.
  • Amari Niblack FR - STAYING: The sky is the limit.
  • Danny Lewis FR - STAYING: Alabama needs depth.
  • Elijah Brown FR - STAYING: Alabama needs depth.
  • Miles Kitselman SO - STAYING? Did not hear much from him this season. I she even on scholarship?

OFFENSIVE LINE

Not much is certain in this unit except that Tyler Booker and JC Latham will be starters in 2023.

  • JC Latham SO - STAYING: Starter.
  • Tyler Booker FR - STAYING: Starter and no more of this splitting time silliness.
  • Seth McLaughlin R-SO - STAYING: Likely starting center.
  • Javion Cohen JR - STAYING: He should be back and should start at guard, but he’ll be pushed.
  • Tyler Steen R-SR - NFL: Probably a Day 3 draftee.
  • Elijah Pritchett FR - STAYING: Up and comer, potential starter at tackle.
  • Tanner Bowles R-JR - TRANSFER PORTAL: Worked mostly on special teams, can play guard or center.
  • Emil Ekiyor R-SR - ? Saban is only giving bonus years to positions of need. Bama probably does not need him.
  • Amari Kight R-JR - ? He was often the first tackle off the bench this year and will stay through spring at the least. But I suspect there are better tackles than him on the team.
  • Darrian Dalcourt SR - GONE: Injuries be damned. By the time October rolled around, McLaughlin was the man at center. He could play another season somewhere else or try his luck in the pros but it is doubtful Saban would use a bonus year on him.
  • Tommy Brockermeyer R-FR - ? Still young but how patient and how long to prove his worth?
  • James Brockermeyer R-FR - ? See above. Can play guard or center.
  • Terrence Ferguson R-FR - ? See above.
  • Jaeden Roberts R-FR - ? Has played in two garbage time games in two years. He is still young, but younger guys are passing him up.
  • Damieon George JR - TRANSFER PORTAL: Started three games last year, used sparingly this year.
  • Kendall Randolph GR - OUT OF ELIGIBILITY

SPECIALIST

  • PK Will Reichard SR - ? The Tide kicker got married last January and had said in preseason that this would be his last in crimson and white. However, there has been some speculation that he could return. He has a bonus year available and could probably declare his freshman year a medical redshirt if they hadn’t already.
  • P James Burnip R-SO - STAYING
  • SN Kneeland Hibbett SO - STAYING

Tomorrow: Leaving & Staying Defense