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Jumbo Package: Gump Day!

Alabama bolsters the defense with the transfer portal

Alabama v Tennessee Photo by Donald Page/Getty Images

If you missed the news yesterday, Alabama picked up a shiny new defensive back from the transfer portal.

“What made me feel comfortable, you know Coach Saban doesn’t really bring in transfers,” Amos’ stepfather, Darren Francis, told BamaOnLine. “When you look at how he brought in Jahmyr Gibbs and what it did for him and when he brought in Jameson Williams, and what it did for him, I feel that Trey could be the next one of those guys. Saban usually recruits guys, develops them, and that’s how he builds his team. But when he brings in a transfer, it’s someone he really notices and feels could help his team right now, just like Gibbs and Williams did. That’s what really got me going. I feel that Trey could be that missing piece to this team to win the national championship.”

Amos and his family spent a couple days at the Capstone over the weekend on an official visit.

“I really enjoyed it,” It was totally different,” Francis said. “I never really experienced nothing like it. I’ve been to LSU, I’ve been to Texas, I’ve been to a few big Power Five colleges, and I’ve never experienced nothing like Alabama before.

Even as is, I was already extremely excited about the starting group for Alabama’s secondary. Depth was a concern, sure, but the combination of Kool-Aid McKinstry, Terrion Arnold, Caleb Downs, Malachi Moore, Earl Little II, and Kristian Story seems like one of the best starting 6 guys in the country.

Trey Amos, though, isn’t just coming in to be depth. No, he’s going to do his best to win the starting job outside opposite of Kool-Aid.

And if he does, it gives Alabama even more flexibility. Terrion Arnold was recruited more as a safety. Could he move there and pair with Downs? Or does he move to Star?

Just a lot of great potential here, and more starting-caliber players than there are spots.

Will the drops be a recurring issue?

During the A-Day Game, there were quite a few dropped passes. According to Alabama’s stats from April 22, offensive players caught 42 of their 82 targets, which is a 51.2 catch percentage. For the wide receivers, that number was 22-of-47 (46.8 percent). That’s not ideal, especially in an offseason of trying to find a new quarterback. After the spring game, however, Saban was asked about the struggles with catching the ball and essentially said it was an isolated incident. And the receiving corps will look to make sure the drops aren’t a recurring problem.

“We’re looking at the big picture, so we’re looking at the 15 days in total of how those guys played,” Saban said. “Isaiah Bond had a really good spring. Ja’Corey Brooks had a good spring. Jermaine Burton had a really good spring. I think (Malik Benson), who made some catches at the end of the game today, has got a chance to be a real contributor. (Emmanuel Henderson) is getting better all the time, made a really nice touchdown catch today.

Not to be too much of a downer on a Wednesday, but I wanted to talk about something here (also read Charlie Potter’s whole article here, rather than just the blurb I’m highlighting).

There’s been a lot of talk about the issues in Alabama’s football team last season that resulted in the Tide’s worst regular season since 2010.

To me, it has, first and foremost, been receiver play that’s been the difference in in 2021-2022 vs. the previous, well, decade.

In 2021, only John Metchie, a veteran who had played with the talented group before him ever really stepped up, and transfer Jameson Williams lit things up as a speedster. However, the rest of the Tide’s receivers struggled with drops, and it ultimately lost them the National Championship when Metchie and Williams both got injured, and the rest of the group combined to drop three critical passes that would have either picked up a new set of downs in scoring territory or outright scored.

Then in 2022, transfer RB Jahmyr Gibbs led the Tide with 44 catches, and transfer WR Jermaine Burton led the way with 677 yards.

For in-house guys, Ja’Corey Brooks was also fairly productive, but, overall, it was a lackluster showing from the WR group compared to many previous years. Even worse than the lack of explosive plays, was the drops. Again, a critical 3rd down drop put Alabama behind against Tennessee, and another critical 3rd down drop kept the Tide from outright winning the game with a score or chip shot field goal.

Take 1 critical drop away from those two games, and there’s a very, very good chance we’re not talking doom and gloom about Alabama right now, and instead viewing them as still the top team in college football.

The margins are slim, and they haven’t been able to hold onto the ball.

If Holmon Wiggins and the group figure that out this year, it will go a long, long way to repairing the Tide’s faltering reputation. In fact, I’d consider more critical than anything else.

Anyway, congrats to Dylan Moses!

Moses never did manage to rebuild his career after the ACL tear followed by the meniscus tear. After spending his first year on the Jaguars on the NFI reserve list, he was released and did not manage to catch on to a team in 2022.

Now he’s getting a shot in Seattle to come to training camp and try to earn a roster spot. For what it’s worth, Seattle is pretty desperate for depth at inside linebacker, so it’s as good of a shot as Moses is likely ever going to see. Best of luck to him!

Miller and Clowney were the only Alabama players initially invited to the NBA Draft Combine, but two other Tide players – center Charles Bediako and guard Mark Sears – are among the 45 prospects set to attend the 2023 NBA G League Elite Camp. Based on performance, select players from the NBA G League Elite Camp will be invited to take part in the combine. Bediako, Sears and Jahvon Quinerly each entered the draft while maintaining their eligibility.

Congrats to Miller and Clowney for the Combine invites! And, selfishly, I want Bediako in particular to come back to Alabama... But if he can get an invite from his performance in the G-League, I’ll be rooting for him.

Roll Tide!