Alabama football is building for the future
Recruiting is complicated, but it gives fans hints at what their team is prioritizing for the future. The same is true for the Transfer Portal, but there is a quicker timeline for these players. Alabama football has a better idea of how their play translates to the college game, and they have fewer years of eligibility. That is why so many of the Tide’s transfers contributed early.
Because of this, it is easy to see where Saban’s head is at when he signs players from the Transfer Portal. Last year, he knew that his team needed a speedy threat to play alongside John Metchie. He signed Jameson Williams, who became one of the best receivers in Alabama football history. He also needed a thumper in the middle of the defense, so he prioritized adding Henry To’o To’o to the roster.
So, what can we learn from this signing? First off, let’s look at where the Tide stand at corner. Josh Jobe and Jalyn Armour-Davis are both starters, and they are both eligible for the 2022 NFL Draft. They each have four years with the program, and they could either go pro or return.
Alabama also signed Kool-Aid McKinstry and Khyree Jackson last offseason. McKinstry has shown plenty of promise as a starting corner at times, and Jackson has played well in key situations. With these four players, why would Saban recruit Ricks to the team?
This hints at the future of the DB position. For starters, both Armour-Davis and Jobe were lackluster this season. They have played well at times, but they haven’t reached the same level as Patrick Surtain, Trevon Diggs and other Tide cornerbacks. Ricks is an upgrade, and Saban will always try to make the team better.
McKinstry is too talented to leave off of the field next year. If he keeps improving, he will likely start. With that possibility, I think that Saban expects at least one upperclassman corner to declare for the NFL Draft. Jobe is more likely from the duo after starting for two seasons, but either could make the move. In fact, they both could leave for the NFL.
If Jobe and Armour-Davis both declare for the 2022 NFL Draft, McKinstry and Ricks will instantly become one of the best corner duos in the history of Alabama football. Jackson would be a solid depth piece, and the rest of the secondary would be solid with underclassmen returning.