Alabama Football: Scholarship count questions for ’21 and ’22

Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports /

There is no sudden need for alarm. Nick Saban always solves Alabama Football scholarship numbers. The 2021 roster may need to be tweaked before the season, but no Crimson Tide fan should doubt Saban has a plan.

A look from outside the program indicates the Alabama Crimson Tide has 89 scholarship players for the 2021 season. That is two above this season’s NCAA allowed number of 87 for Alabama Football.

The status of three players may determine how a final adjustment is made. One is outside linebacker, King Mwikuta who is on the current Crimson Tide roster but is still listed as having his name in the Transfer Portal. Another is wide receiver, Xavier Williams. Williams is also on the current roster. UPDATED Aug. 10 – Williams is no longer shown on the Crimson Tide online roster.

The third player is the Australian punter, James Burnip. When Burnip announced for the Crimson Tide, he stated he was declining a three-year scholarship offer from Ole Miss for a four-year scholarship from the Crimson Tide.

There are four possibilities being discussed by Alabama football insiders. One is before the end of Fall Camp, Mwikuta will choose a new team. He has the potential to be a very good college football player, but his position is loaded with tremendous talent. To get meaningful snaps at linebacker, he might be best served by a transfer.

Over the last few weeks, there have been repeated, but unconfirmed rumors Xavier Williams has an injury serious enough for a medical redshirt season. At one point he was not listed on the Tide’s roster. He did not enter the Transfer Portal.

A third possibility is despite what James Burnip stated about a scholarship, it could be, like most kickers, he is not scholarship. Circumstances may have changed since his initial announcement.

A fourth possibility is another rumor of one player grayshirting. Prior to Fall Camp starting, this rumor was plausible, but media reports from the first practice session did not mention any new players not participating.

Credible Alabama football insiders claim there is no reason for concern because unofficially the Crimson Tide is already at the 87 scholarship number.

Alabama Football 2022 Scholarships

Making the numbers work will be harder for Nick Saban with the 2022 roster. An extra season of eligibility will again be a factor, but so far, the NCAA is holding to the 85-player limit. The Alabama Crimson Tide could have more than 75 current players wanting to continue their college football careers in 2022. Add another 25, 2022 signees and it will take a lot of work to get down to 85.

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Alabama Football has a roster distribution advantage over most programs. Several players choosing NFL early entry every season makes roster management less difficult.