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Jumbo Package: Gump Day!

Alabama looks to bolster their roster against transfer exits with another #1 recruiting class.

NCAA Football: Arkansas at Alabama Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Well one of our portalees has a new home already:

Alabama wide receiver Christian Leary has found a new home – and a familiar one.

Leary announced Tuesday he is transferring to UCF after entering the transfer portal on Dec. 5. Leary will return home to Orlando to play for his hometown Knights. He is the second Crimson Tide receiver to commit to play for Gus Malzahn in as many years (Javon Baker in 2021).

Leary has played in 10 of Alabama’s 12 games this season, primarily playing on special teams and as a reserve wideout. He caught one pass in the season opener against Utah State for six yards and also made one tackle. A sophomore, Leary played in eight games as a true freshman and moved over to running back following several injuries at the position. He carried the ball three times for 22 yards and caught two passes for yards and one touchdown in 2021.

Congrats to Leary for not getting lost in the portal and never making it out like so many others. For his part, Leary stepped up last year when Alabama’s entire running back room was injured and played the position for a few critical snaps near the end of the season. He ultimately got passed up this year by three true freshmen, so it’s not surprising to see him look to move on.

And in case you need a refresher, Charlie Potter has all of Alabama’s portal comings and goings summarized in one article:

The transfer portal window will officially open Monday, Dec. 5, and several players have either already entered the portal as graduate transfers or announced their intentions to transfer when allowed next week. Alabama saw 18 players transfer during or after the 2021 season, and this offseason will once again be filled with players electing to move on to other programs.

Here, we keep track of all of the Crimson Tide players that have entered the portal.

Braylon Ingraham, Traeshon Holden, and Tanner Bowles have also found new homes. The rest are still in limbo. Word on the street is that Tommy Brockermeyer may be going to TCU, but I haven’t seen it official anywhere yet.

Of course, with all of the portal news, don’t forget that Alabama is about to sign a whole new slew of talented freshmen next week:

1. Alabama

SEC West rival Texas A&M signed a generational class in the 2022 cycle, but Alabama is Alabama and Nick Saban is Nick Saban. How good is this class? Seventeen players in the Top 247, including an astounding 11 prospects in the Top 100, are headed to Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The commitment on Monday of five-star EDGE Keon Keeley gave the Tide their second No. 1 prospect at his position from the prep ranks, joining No. 1-ranked safety Caleb Downs. How about junior college players? Well, Alabama has the top two in the country in receiver Malik Benson and linebacker Justin Jefferson. As Alabama looks to clinch the No. 1 ranking, it will host three more players in the top 25 this weekend for an official visit: defensive lineman James Smith, cornerback Desmond Ricks and EDGE Qua Russaw.

I think the class could still use a little depth at corner, WR, and DT. The Montgomery duo of Smith and Russaw would be huge. Stay tuned as we move into next week, as I’m sure there will be shenanigans. Gerogia is right on the Tide’s heels at #2.

Alabama outside linebacker Will Anderson was named Tuesday as a first-team All-American by the Sporting News.

It is the fourth of the five All-America lists officially recognized by the NCAA in which Anderson has earned first-team All-America status. If he is named to the fifth, the AFCA’s on Wednesday, he will earn unanimous All-American status for a second season in a row.

The last time a defensive player made Unanimous All-American in back-to-back years? Eric Berry, back in 2008-2009. So if Will Anderson gets that final nod later today, then please spare me your complaints about him not being effective this season.

Robert Foster returned to the NFL on Tuesday, when the Indianapolis Colts announced they had signed the former Alabama wide receiver for their practice squad.

Congrats to Robert! He’ll forever be one of those players that I remember more than perhaps he contributions should warrant. He was a player that I always expected big things from, but found himself behind Calvin Ridley after a collarbone injury and it took him a couple of years to get back to the rotation. And even then, it was in that 2017 offense, when Jalen Hurts was going through his sophomore slump and Foster never really got that many targets.

The five star prospect from the north east was a prime candidate for transferring for better playing time (it was rumored many times he was about to transfer), but he stuck it out through his 5th year, became a starter, and made it to the NFL. It’s good to see him still making his way onto NFL rosters 5 years later. Even at minimum salaries, that kind of money can set him up for life.