Alabama Football: Some thoughts on Alfano and the Tide D-line

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

With former 5-Star Antonio Alfano looking to transfer, what options are available to Nick Saban for depth in the Alabama football defensive line.

A not-deep Alabama football defensive line is looking thinner with Friday’s news Antonio Alfano will pursue transfer options. Despite huge early expectations for the former 5-Star recruit, his fall camp performance indicated he would see limited action in 2019.

That does not mean Alfano has any less potential than when he arrived in Tuscaloosa in January. He can become an outstanding player. Unfortunately, it appears it will not be as a member of the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Alabama football fans can bemoan the current transfer rules. Nick Saban correctly predicted the result would be free agency in college football and that is what has happened. More angst can be engaged by considering other transfers and defensive line recruiting misses over the past couple of seasons.

Rest assured the Alabama football staff is instead focusing on what it can control. Not the vagaries of teenage minds or for that matter whatever poaching tactics other schools use against the Crimson Tide.

All that matters now is how many defensive linemen can make meaningful contributions in 2019. And, how many can be signed in the 2020 and 2021 classes.

Alabama football fans should take comfort in the fact two other true freshmen, Justin Eboigbe and Byron Young, were ahead of Alfano on the depth chart. They have been ahead of Alfano for weeks, long before his recent disappearance.

So what is next in terms of depth?

Even without Alfano, the Crimson Tide has nine guys who can contribute this season. It could be more if Ishmael Sopsher gets into playing shape. Braylen Ingraham is another player with considerable potential who could develop into a contributor. Neither Sopsher or Ingraham have played this season.

Without Sopsher and Ingraham, the nine d-line Tiders are Raekwon Davis, LaBryan Ray, D.J. Dale, Phidarian Mathis, Justin Eboigbe, Byron Young, Stephon Wynn, Christian Barmore and Tevita Musika. Mathis and Young have seen the most action. Eboigbe has been slowed by injury but is expected to play against South Carolina.

A nine-man rotation is adequate without any serious injury problems. As a hedge against possible future injuries, Nick Saban might consider a position change for another big body. Redshirt sophomore Kendall Randolph came to Tuscaloosa prepared to play on either side of the line. He might help as an interior defensive lineman if Sopsher ends up needing a redshirt season.

Next. 'Recruiting Stars' don't always matter. dark

For those who did not see the tweet, Alfano’s father had good things to say about the support given his son by the University of Alabama. The family is going through a difficult time with Antonio’s grandmother seriously ill.