Nick Saban tried to warn you, he really did.
Without quite being so explicit, he spent months telling you that the transfer portal was likely to only enrich those teams entrenched at the top. The midmajor stars, the struggling conference teams with good players, the guys buried on the bench at high profile programs could and would shop; they would try and maximize their value at a place with a better opportunity.
He did warn you, before nabbing Jameson Williams out of the Portal and turning him into a NFL Top 15 pick. He did warn you before rescuing Henry To’oto’o from Tennessee Infractions Hell. He did warn you, even as you were lifting your CFP trophy, that your best wide receiver can come to Tuscaloosa and be a star; that one of the best running backs in the ACC could wear a crimson jersey and compete for an immediate starting spot.
And, he warned you before procuring the commitment of Vanderbilt star senior tackle Tyler Steen out of the Transfer Portal: a position of need for an underachieving offensive line with a new coach that — to use the technical term — brooks no bullshit.
That’s exactly what Alabama is getting too. A no-BS player, the 6’3” 315 pound four-star out of St. Thomas Aquinas (FL) is custom-made for the modern game. He allowed just two sacks in his nine starts last season, on a Vandy offense that improved its output across the board — particularly with its very efficient passing game. On the season, he allowed just 7 pressures.
For the returning linemen on the Crimson Tide roster, this ought to provide some incentive to get their act together. Last year was an historical flop, and this Spring seems to be uncertain again, as there’s just not enough quality depth and players are still trying to even figure out what position they’re best suited for, much less to develop continuity as a starting group.
For an offense that was relegated to pass-first, a veteran SEC lineman can help regain some of that lost momentum on the ground, as Alabama tries to return to its physical identity. For the reigning Heisman winner, this is a security blanket following the loss of Evan Neal. And for Bill O’Brien, the realization of both of those things would be a serious game-changer.
Nick Saban did warn you, and you have only yourself to blame.