With Alabama football offensive lineman, Brandon Kennedy transferring to the Vols, let’s review other past players who chose to leave Tuscaloosa to further their football careers.
The transfer rules have changed for college football. Alabama football fans, like Nick Saban, may not like the change but that does not matter. The football program will adjust to the new rules. As with other rules changes, Alabama football will find opportunities to benefit.
The most recent NCAA changes applied to graduate transfers. They will not have to sit out a season after transferring. Due to a recent rule change by the SEC, a Tide graduate may leave and play for a Tide opponent the following season.
That is happening with former Ride offensive lineman, Brandon Kennedy. Kennedy is now a Vol who most likely start for Jeremy Pruitt this coming fall. The change could work out well for Kennedy. It certainly works well for Pruitt.
If Kennedy had left for any schools other than Tennessee or Auburn, most fans would be wishing him well. Many still are and they are to be commended for supporting a former player looking for expanded playing time. Some of us struggle with the thought of any goodwill toward anything in Knoxville. Wishing Dallas Warmack well at Oregon is far easier than pulling for Kennedy at Tennessee.
The bigger issue is and should always be what is best for the game and the young men who play it. Seeking greater football opportunity elsewhere is sometimes the right move for players. It worked for Alvin Kamara, now a New Orleans Saint after a Tennessee career.
More often than not, the greener ‘field’ does not bring great results. David Cornwell and Luke Del Rio are two QB’s that never found success after leaving Alabama. Often players need to go elsewhere because they will never see considerable playing time in Tuscaloosa.
Dee Liner did not measure up to his expectations and finished a lackluster career at Arkansas State. Phillip Simms had some success at Virginia but ended his football playing career at Winston-Salem State. He was not drafted by the NFL and is now a high school football head coach. Daylon Charlot moved to defense and has found little playing time at Kansas. Mekhi Brown dropped down a level to Tennessee State. Desherrius Flowers went to a JUCO and then on to Grambling.
Six former Crimson Tide players set out last season after moving to new schools.
- Cooper Bateman – Utah
- Charles Baldwin – Kansas
- Aaron Robinson – UCF
- O.J. Smith – Minnesota
- T.J. Simmons – West Virginia
- Shawn Jennings – South Alabama
Simmons could do well as a Big 12 wideout this season. The futures of the other five are unclear.
Six other former Alabama football players could still have good, maybe even great, college careers.
- Kendall Sheffield – The former 5-Star recruit could break into the Ohio State starting lineup this coming season.
- Adonis Thomas – After backup work last season, Thomas has a chance to become a starter at FSU.
- Shawn Burgess-Becker – After a season as a backup linebacker for UCF, Burgess-Becker could see more action in 2018.
- B.J. Emmons – Lane Kiffin is thrilled to add Emmons to the Owls offensive attack.
- Dallas Warmack – At the minimum Warmack will be a key backup for Mario Cristobal at Oregon.
- Blake Barnett – After being a non-factor at Arizona State, Barnett transferred to USF. What happens next with Barnett is anyone’s guess.
If the new transfer rules make college football sound like a revolving door, perhaps there is as much good as bad. Football transfers will probably not explode to the level of college basketball. Maybe one day far into the future, Nick Saban will become the Commissioner of college football. How Nick would rule is not known but he would do what is best for the game of college football.