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Jumbo Package: Transfer Portal Open Season begins for Alabama

So begins another offseason.

NCAA Football: SEC Football Championship-Georgia at Alabama Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

With the season officially over for the Crimson Tide, Alabama players were given an extension on the transfer portal window since the team has been in playoff mode all month. With that, we got a flurry of entrants into the portal yesterday. Most are pretty expected by most fans.

Quarterback Eli Holstein, defensive backs Kristian Story and Earl Little Jr., wide receiver Malik Benson and defensive lineman Monkell Goodwine showed up in the portal, joining wide receiver Shazz Preston, tight end Miles Kistelman and offensive linemen Terrence Ferguson and Seth McLaughlin to bring the Crimson Tide’s week-long total to nine.

Eli Holstein had been passed by Dylan Lonergan on the depth chart as a QB of the same age, so no surprise there. Monkell Goodwine, Shazz Preston, and Miles Kitselman were never going to see playing time buried on the depth chart behind younger players. Benson disappointed in his first year with the team as a JUCO transfer.

On the veteran end of things, Seth McLaughlin was a multi-year starter who is likely being run off by the fanbase more than anything else. He also may just go pro. Kristian Story is another senior that I thought might try to come back for a super-senior year to try for a starting job, but he likely saw the writing on the wall.

The two interesting ones are Terrance Ferguson and Earl Little Jr. Ferguson was a top backup that I thought would be first in line to compete for a starting job on the offensive line next year. Earl Little is in a similar spot at DB. We heard all last spring that he was right in the mix to be a starter this year, and with Kool-Aid McKinstry, Terrion Arnold, and Malachi Moore likely all headed to the NFL, there’s a lot of open spots.

Word is that the team may be trying to talk Little out of it.

Anyway, here’s the whole list Alabama players in the portal:

Tyler Buchner, QB (Notre Dame, lacrosse)
Thaiu Jones-Bell, WR
Ja’Corey Brooks, WR (Louisville)
Isaiah Hastings, DL
Anquin Barnes, DL (Colorado)
Shazz Preston, WR
Miles Kitselman, TE
Terrence Ferguson, OL
Seth McLaughlin, OL
Eli Holstein, QB
Kristian Story, DB
Malik Benson, WR
Earl Little, DB
Monkell Goodwine, DL

Ty Simpson is set to return to Alabama for the coming season, his father Jason confirmed on Wednesday evening. Simpson, a rising redshirt sophomore, spent the past season backing up Jalen Milroe at quarterback. Last month, Milroe announced he was returning to Alabama for his redshirt junior season.

“Ty made his decision, and his heart has always been at Alabama,” Jason told TideIllustrated, “and he will be returning next year.”

.....

Simpson spoke to TideIllustrated ahead of last week’s Rose Bowl, revealing that he spoke with current Patriots quarterback Mac Jones following his game against South Florida. Jones waited behind Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa at Alabama before putting together a record-breaking season while leading the Crimson Tide to an undefeated national title in the 2020 season. Last week, Simpson told TideIllustrated that he was inspired by Jones’ path and could see himself taking a similar route in his career.

On the other side of things, Ty Simpson is not leaving the program just because he lost the job to Milroe. It’s good to see that kind of attitude from Simpson, and it just may pay off down the road for him.

Simpson made a couple of impressive plays for the Tide in his backup role this season. He’s got the arm, the touch, and the wheels - but displayed a brutal lack of pocket awareness in his limited playing time. Improve on that, and he can still be a very good QB.

In more roster news, this one was very much expected:

Alabama offensive tackle JC Latham plans to enter the NFL draft.

Latham, a two-year starter at right tackle, announced his decision Wednesday in a post on Instagram. He was a first-team All-Southeastern Conference pick this season as a junior and earned second-team Associated Press All-America honors.

Latham is most likely going to be a first round pick (though I would not quite call it a surefire thing), so this was always expected. Dallas Turner also already announced that he’s going pro.

We’re still waiting on decisions from some other players, though. Kool-Aid McKinstry and Terrion Arnold are the other two junior players who could (and probably should) go, but there are a few others that still have decisions looming.

In fact, BamaOnline has two guys coming back according to #sources

Two defensive starters will likely return to Alabama instead of turning pro after the season.

The current belief is Crimson Tide linebacker Deontae Lawson and defensive lineman Tim Smith will return to Tuscaloosa, Ala., for the 2024 football season, sources tell BamaOnLine.

Matt Zenitz from 247 also said the same on Twitter, so I’d expect both of these guys back.

We’ve yet to hear from Jermaine Burton, Chris Braswell, Trezmen Marshall, Quandarrius Robinson, and Malachi Moore.

All in all, there’s a lot of roster shuffling to go, and the Tide is still waiting on a few key recruits for the 2024 cycle. Daniel Hill and Zay Mincey are expected to announce their decisions this weekend at the All-American Bowl.

Meanwhile, the Tide did have a couple of current commits playing in the other All-American game by UnderArmour yesterday.

Ryan Williams is a solid commit to the Tide, but as a 5-star that’s waiting until February, he’s going to be under extreme scrutiny until he officially signs.


In NFL news, the Tide added 7 alumni to the Pro Bowl this year:

Roll Tide!