Alabama Football: Five of Top 10 Portal winners from SEC

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports /

Call the Transfer Portal what it is, practically unlimited free agency. In college football free agency, Alabama Football, and other SEC teams are having the most success.

Nick Saban may or may not have added his next starting quarterback through the Portal, but clearly, the Alabama Crimson Tide added needed experience for its defensive backfield.

Recruiting top-rated high school players is still the most important component in roster building. But the negative impact of a few recruiting misses can be erased through Transfer Portal success.

Alabama football fans know well how successful Nick Saban has been with Portal additions. The Crimson Tide has lost many players via transfer. Most left for greater playing opportunities elsewhere. Despite the large number of exits, Alabama’s Portal gains have far surpassed the Crimson Tide’s Portal losses.

The Transfer Portal is a coach’s best tool for quick roster turnarounds. Known player assets can be added to match the most pressing roster needs of teams. There are also downsides. Unfettered tampering is the worst of them. There is also no denying the Transfer Portal, has caused an exodus of top players from lesser teams to already top programs. As one example, Alabama football fans rightfully love the Portal. UAB fans rightfully don’t.

Recently, On3’s Matt Zenitz provided a ranking of the biggest spring transfer portal winners. Zenitz named 15 teams. In his top 10, there are five SEC football teams. The SEC teams ranked by Zenitz are Auburn (No. 1); Ole Miss (No. 4); Alabama (No. 5); Arkansas (No. 9) and LSU (No. 10). Also in his top 10, from outside the SEC are USC (No. 2); SMU (No. 3); FSU (No. 6); Louisville (No. 7) and Miami (No. 8).

Alabama Football a Winner and a closer look at Auburn

Auburn deserves to make Zenitz’s rankings, but it is somewhat misleading. Hugh Freeze had a serious weakness at quarterback, that most believe he solved by adding Payton Thorne. As Zentiz states, the Tigers may have gained four new starters from its eight transfer additions. But Auburn’s roster was so weak, the only direction for Freeze was up. The Tigers will still not be an SEC contender in 2023.

Arguably and unsurprisingly, Lane Kiffin probably added the most roster talent among the SEC teams. Or that distinction might belong to Nick Saban, if Tyler Buchner, Jaylen Key and Trey Amos win starting or key roles. Certainly, Alabama Football’s depth was enhanced by the transfer additions.

False narratives for the '23 season. dark. Next

It will be interesting to track the 10 teams through the 2023 season, to compare changes in 2022 wins and losses.