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Jumbo Package: Lane Kiffin, Portal King of Mississippi

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Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

NCAA Football: Sugar Bowl-Mississippi at Baylor John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Tuesday, everyone. We’ll open with Blake Toppmeyer’s take on the transfer portal.

Saban said last year that Alabama would seek quality over quantity in the transfer market. That proved true. The Crimson Tide added three transfers, all of whom project as all-conference-caliber players: Burton, Ricks and running back Jahmyr Gibbs (from Georgia Tech).

But, Alabama lost more transfers than it gained.

So, the rich didn’t stockpile a wealth of transfer talent as much as middle-class SEC schools, and Saban won’t be wearing a portal king sweatshirt anytime soon.

I don’t know that it’s “supposed to” work any particular way, but logically the mid-tier programs will lose some of their best players to the elite programs and will then backfill with players who weren’t getting playing time at bigger schools. Ole Miss has taken in 14 total transfers this cycle, which is a tough way to live from a continuity standpoint. Saban, meanwhile, has focused on filling holes with premium veteran talent, and he may not be done.

“My son got to spend some time watching practice, spend some time with the coaches, get to know Coach Wolf and the other coaches a little better,” Daris said.

It was the Steen family’s first opportunity to be around new offensive line coach Eric Wolford.

“He’s a sharp guy,” Daris said. “Good coach, experienced. You could learn a lot from him.”

As I have written previously, it is disappointing that Alabama feels the need to add a veteran along the offensive line considering the upperclassman talent on hand that apparently hasn’t developed to starter level, but if this is the case and Steen can help shore things up then bring him on. Alabama certainly feels like the leader here.

According to Dick Vitale, the obvious downsides to the portal have become reality.

He’s talking about basketball there, but it would be naive to think that the same thing isn’t happening on the gridiron.

Alabama’s Pro Day goes down Wednesday, and as usual every NFL team will be there with bells on.

Had scouts known that one UA player working out, defensive end Wallace Gilberry, would eventually go on to a nine-year NFL career, perhaps more would’ve made the trip to Tuscaloosa. But the scout showing, as it always does, reflected the collective draft stock of the athletes assembled; and six weeks later, not a single Alabama player was chosen in the draft.

That was then.

On Wednesday, Alabama’s pro day will draw enough NFL personnel to fill a couple floors of hotel rooms. Mini bleachers will be packed with family members. Staffers will hustle all morning, shuffling dummies and cones. Personal trainers will whisper counsel, and TV cameras will capture every conceivable vantage point.

One player who can really help himself is Josh Jobe.

Jobe said at the combine that he was dealing with an injury most of the season that forced him to change his technique. He had foot surgery late in the season and missed the College Football Playoff.

Cornerback is very much a stopwatch position, where teams put a fair amount into how a player at the position tests. Jobe could help boost his stock if he shows some impressive times.

Jobe was mocked in the first round in several preseason publications, but had a rough year. If the toe really was the issue, hopefully it has sufficiently healed for him to test well.

Shane Lee has taken a little bit of The Process to SoCal.

“Initially it was really frustrating, but I learned a lot,” Lee said about his time at Alabama. “I grew a lot. It’s adversity — like, everybody goes through it, and you’ve just got to look at it a certain way and be able to learn from it and grow from it and be better because of it.”

Lee will be competing for a starting spot within Alex Grinch’s new-look defense in the Pac-12. His position coach is anxious to see more from him.

“He adds a lot to the room,” Odom said last week, praising Lee’s early progress at USC. “His experiences, the way he talks, the way he carries himself, the way he works, his demeanor, he’s all about ball. Everybody enjoys being around him, knows he’s a serious guy. He’s built quite a reputation to start.”

Best of luck, Shane.

Another Bama player has earned a full time college coaching gig.

Last, Alabama women’s basketball coach Kristy Curry added two transfers to her squad, including one with a very familiar name.

Sarah Ashlee Barker, daughter of former Alabama football quarterback Jay Barker and sister of former Crimson Tide quarterback and current Alabama football graduate assistant Braxton Barker, committed to the Crimson Tide following two seasons at Georgia.

The junior guard from Birmingham was named to the SEC All-Freshman team in 2021 and averaged 7.7 points for the Bulldogs last season.

Not sure why she went to Georgia to begin with, but glad to have her home.

That’s about it for now. Have a great day.

Roll Tide.