For this exercise, I’m going to list a bunch of players, who may or may not have something in common, and think to yourself if they’re good players or not.
Ready? Kristian Story, Earl Little II, Jake Pope, Dezz Ricks, Antonio Kite, Trey Amos, Caleb Downs, and Jameer Grimsley.
That’s a solid group wouldn’t you say? Well, now add in Jaylen Key, Terrion Arnold, and Kool-Aid McKinstry and you’ve got the 10 defensive backs that Alabama lost this offseason, the first group to the transfer portal, and the second to the NFL draft.
Nick Saban was a defensive backs coach by trade, so he had plenty of talent at both cornerback and safety, but no program can withstand the quantity and quality of those losses without a significant drop-off in play.
The Alabama secondary is going to be worse next season, and it’ll probably be the worst Alabama secondary since before Saban took over. DeBoer brought in Domani Jackson, a former five-star corner from USC, to offset the debilitating losses, but Jackson underperformed in his two years as a Trojan and even if he was a superstar, wouldn’t be enough to keep the unit performing at the same level it did in 2023.
Malachi Moore is the most experienced returning after playing 751 snaps last year but after Moore, DeVonta Smith (no not that one) played the second most snaps of a returner in the secondary with 30 as a redshirt sophomore.