Alabama Football: A possible transfer portal need

Alabama Crimson Tide offensive lineman JC Latham (65) Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Alabama Crimson Tide offensive lineman JC Latham (65) Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama football has already lost 13 players to the NCAA transfer portal in the 2022 season. For the next several months, the 2023 roster situation will remain fluid as players move in and out.

Alabama, like other elite teams, has a unique relationship with the portal. As a result, much of the fan base is relatively unconcerned with the postseason exodus that is quickly becoming an annual tradition. The majority of the transfer exits are considered to be “excess fat” that is being trimmed off the roster to make room for new talent. While Alabama is not losing very much in terms of statistical production, the extensive portal losses can eventually threaten the depth of the team.

More transfer announcements are bound to come after the bowl game, and then again after spring practice. The Crimson Tide will also learn of its NFL Draft entrants leading up to and following the Sugar Bowl. Looking ahead to 2023, the roster is already pretty thin at certain positions, even with the inclusion of the Tide’s top-ranked recruiting class.

Contrary to popular opinion, Alabama football remains deep at the wide receiver position despite losing four transfers from the position. The Tide is currently expected to have 13 wide receivers on next season’s roster, which is plenty.

The only known transfer that has received a scholarship offer from Alabama is Maryland tight end CJ Dippre. While Dippre is a good player that would add value to the team, the offer is somewhat surprising considering that Bama already has six tight ends on the 2023 roster.

Biggest transfer portal need for Alabama Football

In terms of depth, the Alabama offensive line is the biggest concern, particularly at the tackle position. The Crimson Tide have already lost four offensive linemen to the portal this year, including starting guard Javion Cohen and former 5-star Tommy Brockermeyer.

The team is also expected to lose a pair of senior starters to the NFL Draft in guard Emil Ekiyor Jr. and tackle Tyler Steen. Lastly, it will likely graduate senior center Darrian Dalcourt, who has started 16 games in the past two years.

Starting center Seth McLaughlin and starting tackle JC Latham are slated to return. Along with guard Tyler Booker, who bullied his way into the lineup as a true freshman, Alabama football has a solid trio returning on the offensive line.

The issue will be finding solid players to fill the remaining two spots, then building quality depth behind the starters. Currently, third-year James Brockermeyer is expected to be the only other center on the roster. Fellow redshirt sophomores Terrance Ferguson Jr. and Jaeden Roberts will have the opportunity to compete for a starting guard spot. Freshmen Raymond Pulido and RyQueze McElderry will also compete on the interior offensive line.

Across from JC Latham, there are major question marks at tackle. The sophomore started every game this season at right tackle, and he could bump over to the left side if necessary. It is also possible that Tyler Booker, who was recruited as a tackle, bumps back out to his natural position. This would solidify the tackle spots, but would leave both guard positions wide open.

Assuming Booker stays inside, there aren’t many proven options for Alabama at tackle. Elijah Pritchett, who will be a redshirt freshman, has immense potential but missed the entire 2022 season with an injury. Incoming freshmen Wilkin Formby, Olaus Alinen, and Miles McVay are also talented players who will compete. As gifted as they are, it would be a lot to ask any of these guys to start from day one.

It is pretty shocking to realize that outside of JC Latham, Alabama football may not have a tackle on its roster that has taken a college snap heading into 2023. For this reason, I believe offensive tackle should be a priority position for Alabama in the transfer portal this spring. Good tackles come at a premium, but Tuscaloosa is certainly an attractive destination.

Next. Avoiding a Sugar Bowl letdown. dark

Last offseason, Alabama landed Vanderbilt transfer Tyler Steen, who started every game and was more than serviceable at one of the most difficult positions on the field. Could Bama find another starting tackle through the portal?