clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Final Transfer Portal Score: Alabama Football vs Everyone

Tally up the scores of who left, who stayed, and who is coming in. It might (pleasantly) surprise you.

Arkansas v Alabama
The one constant: Bama fans.
Photo by Alex Slitz/Getty Images

Friday, February 9 marks the closing of the 30-day transfer portal window that opened the day that Nick Saban retired. If you listen to non-Alabama college football fans that want nothing more than for the Crimson Tide to drop back to the pack of mediocrity, they will tell you that there was a “mass exodus” in Tuscaloosa.

The final tally stands at 30 players exiting Bama via the Transfer Portal. Granted, that is a large number of players but the quality of those who have departed versus their replacements, balances the books a bit.

PRE-RETIREMENT

Before Saban made his announcement, there were already 20 Tide players in the Transfer Portal. Many of them were reserves who had not played much and did not have much of a chance of cracking the starting lineup any time soon. This number includes two walk-ons.

  1. Tyler Buchner entered 12/04/2023, destination: Notre Dame Lacrosse - He was never going to get significant snaps at Alabama ever again. (+)
  2. Thaiu Jones-Bell 12/04/2023 ? - Not sure if this one even counts since he was not on the 2023 team. (+)
  3. Isaiah Hastings 12/07/2023 Syracuse - not much of a future with Bama. (+)
  4. Ja’Corey Brooks 12/07/2023 Louisville - former starter who saw his playing time dwindle to almost nothing in 2023. (+)
  5. Anquin Barnes 12/11/2023 Colorado - not much future in T-town. (+)
  6. Eli Holstein 1/03/2024 Pitt - bleak future. (+)
  7. Monkell Goodwine 1/03/2024 South Carolina - bleak future. (+)
  8. Malik Benson 1/03/2024 Florida State - this WR had one disappointing season at Bama after being hailed as the #1 juco recruit. 13 receptions for 162 yards, 1 TD (vs Chattanooga). (+)
  9. Seth McLaughlin 1/03/2024 Ohio State - God bless him, this poor guy had to go. He needed a change of scenery to help him get over the snapping yips and escape certain fans’ scorn. (+)
  10. Shazz Preston 1/03/2024 Tulane - bleak future. (+)
  11. Miles Kitselman 1/03/2024 Tennessee - bleak future. (+)
  12. Kristian Story 1/03/2024 Kentucky - After four seasons at Alabama, he finally got some meaningful playing time at safety with a game on the line... and it did not go so well. He is now in his bonus season and Alabama can only take back so many 5th/6th year seniors. (+)
  13. Ian Jackson 1/04/2024 UTSA - no future. (+)
  14. Roydell Williams 1/05/2024 Florida State - Another super senior who served as the second running back thi past campaign for reasons unknown to the public while Justice Haynes and Jam Miller stood around on the sidelines. Justice and Jam will be back along with three other talented young backs. (+)
  15. Walk-on Hayden Neighbors 1/05/2024 (+)
  16. Walk-on Jax Porter 1/05/2024 (+)

Let’s take a break here. Buchner has quit football. Jones-Bell most likely quit football a year ago and just thought he would float his name out there just in case. Brooks disappeared. Left over are two walk-ons who have not played a down, seven guys who were probably never going to see significant playing time, a receiver who was starting for some reason but could not get open, a center who forgot how to snap the ball, and two bonus year seniors who were not worth the precious few roster spots remaining to bring them back.

Moving on.

17. Earl Little II 1/03/2024 Florida State - Little was expected to compete for a starting role or at least as a top back-up in the secondary in 2023. However, he hardly saw the field in non-special teams situations. There must be a good reason for that. With so many defensive back teammates heading to the NFL, his odds of increased playing time were much better. But okay... (+/-)

18. Terrence Ferguson 1/03/2024 Florida State - A bit of a surprise as he was expected to compete for a starting role, but far from being a lock. (+/-)

19. Kendrick Blackshire 1/08/2024 Texas - In his third year, he was getting more playing time. 2024 will be his final season of eligibility. He probably saw a better chance of starting somewhere else. (+/-)

20. Jake Pope 1/07/2024 Georgia - Worked exclusively on special teams in 2023. He only played one season after a redshirt year. It seems a bit early to bail, but maybe he was homesick? (+/-)

Above we have two guys who may or may not have started in 2024 and two guys who excelled at special teams but would probably not be cracking the starting lineup.

The total comes to two-thirds of transfers coming BEFORE Saban hung it up on January 10. He most certainly met with all these guys to talk about their futures with the program. Had he not retired, nobody would be saying anything about an “exodus”.

POST-RETIREMENT

Kalen DeBoer was announced as the new head coach on January 12, 2024.

21. Isaiah Bond 1/12/2024 Texas - By the time the DeBoer announcement came, Bond was already in the transfer portal. He was a starter but had only 668 yards and 4 TD. He will be missed in the receiving corps but his yard totals were way lower than what Tide fans are used to seeing from a starting receiver. (-)

22. Shawn Murphy 1/13/2024 Florida State - With only two years in the program, what’s the rush? (+/-)

23. Antonio Kite 1/13/2024 Auburn - Based on where he landed, he must have been buried in the depth chart. (+/-)

24. Dezz Ricks 1/13/2024 Texas A&M - Only one season in Tuscaloosa. smh (+/-)

25. Amari Niblack 1/14/2024 Texas - A disappointing loss of a promising player. (-)

26. Trey Amos 1/15/2024 Ole Miss - Had an opportunity to fight for a starting spot. (+/-)

27. Kadyn Proctor 1/17/2024 Iowa - Freshman All-American and a starter. But the Iowa folks got in his head and made him homesick. It hurts losing him but if his heart is not into it, what good is he to Alabama? (+/-)

28. Caleb Downs 1/17/2024 Ohio State - Another Freshman All-American and a starter. I still don’t get this one. You don't want to play for Kalen DeBoer but Ryan “Always a Bridesmaid” Day is a better option? Based on Downs’s recent comments, it sounds like he got some Uncle Mentor Godfathers in his ear. (-)

29. Julian Sayin 1/19/2024 Ohio State - I hate losing this kid. I have to blame KDB on this one. (-)

30. Jameer Grimsley 1/18/2024 Florida - I hope this does not sound like sour grapes, but I was very unimpressed with this commitment/signing. Maybe he will prove me wrong someday? (+)

Of course, these grades are all based on this writer’s opinion. There is probably some margin of error, but not too much. That said, let’s add them up:

(+) = 17 or over half are no real significant losses.
(-) = Four can be considered deficits with one of them having never played a down of college football.
(+/-) = Nine we may never know.

INCOMING

Before Saban’s departure, he picked up transfers from three outstanding players. They have all stuck around.

  1. LT Overton 12/05/2023 Texas A&M - Pencil him in as a starter at DL.
  2. Domani Jackson 12/19/2023 Southern Cal - Likely starter at CB.
  3. Naquil Betrand 12/20/2023 Texas A&M - 6-6/340 OL still has four years to play.

Soon after coach DeBoer came on board at Alabama, he was able add three more transfers, all from Washington:

4. Parker Brailsford - Freshman All-American center instantly fixes a serious issue that was lingering at Alabama. He is a definite win in the TP for the Tide.

5. Austin Mack - RS freshman QB already knows the system and is highly regarding by the new coaching staff. He will have four years to play.

6. Germie Bernard - Rising junior WR was behind three Huskies who are all going to end up being selected in April’s NFL Draft. And still, he ended up with 752 all-purpose yards. He has two seasons of eligibility remaining.

DeBoer got a flip and a re-commitment as well:

7. Noah Carter - Flipped high 4-star Edge Rusher who was released from his Letter Of Intent with Washington.

8. Ryan Williams - 5-star WRwas brought back into the fold.

9. Quinton “QB” Reese - DeBoer also found a spot for this 3-star linebacker from Birmingham.

ADD IT UP

Based on the info listed above, the hypothetical math leaves Alabama in the profit column.

The use of the (+) symbol is not meant to represent a positive that a player has departed. It is meant that it does not hurt the team. The Tide loaded up on plenty of incoming freshmen that can fill those voids.

The ones with (+/-) are unknown how good of football players they are or will be. They may all turn into All-Americans or they may all become busts.

The four negatives (-) are the ones to look at.

  • Isaiah Bond - Ignoring incoming freshmen Williams, Rico Scott and Bubba Hampton, focus more on junior Germie Bernard. As mentioned above, he had 752 all-purpose yards last season as the 4th receiver. Bond amassed 668 total yards and equaled Bernard with four touchdowns as a starter and favorite target of Jalen Milroe. It makes little sense why a receiver like Bond would want to pull the ripcord on the type of offense that KDB is bringing in. Based on his social media, it appears he wanted a quick money grab. For argument’s sake, we’ll leave the personal side out of it. Bernard is a more than adequate replacement.
  • Caleb Downs - Many folks figured he was leaving to join DB coach Travaris Robinson who defected to Georgia. However, it was a big swing and a miss for T-Rob and now Kirby Smart is saddled with a $1.3 million cornerbacks coach. That softens the blow a bit but Alabama will have a hard time replacing Downs in 2024.
  • Julian Sayin - It is unfortunate to have a QB of his caliber hit the bricks. To KDB’s credit, he brought Mack along with him from Seattle. Mack has a year under his belt with the new staff and they are mighty high on him. Who knows if either can live up to their hype? This is a wash.
  • Amari Niblack - This tight end had a slow start to his Alabama career but showed some real sparks of talent in year 2. Even still, he had only 20 catches for 327 yards and 4 touchdowns. In addition, he was not often the first choice on blocking plays. CJ Dippre and Robbie Ouzts were called on for most of those instances and they are both coming back this fall. That does not count as a replacement, but freshman Caleb Odom does. Not since OJ Howard have I been more excited to see and incoming tight end at Alabama.

So, what is the point to all this? Alabama lost 30 guys to the portal but it is not as bad as it seems. The only true loss appears to be Downs. Conversely, they addressed the problem at center with a guy who is younger and was probably not obtainable by Saban. All things considered, all these factors put Bama ahead in our books.

Poll

How would you assess Alabama’s outcome from the transfer portal?

  • 40%
    Bama came out ahead.
    (754 votes)
  • 19%
    Bama came out behind.
    (357 votes)
  • 40%
    Broke even.
    (751 votes)
1862 votes total Vote Now