When the midnight clock pushed the calendar to Feb. 10, a 30-day window for Alabama football players to enter the Transfer Portal ended. There is a small chance one or two, yet-to-be reported transfer exits occurred. But Alabama football insiders are confident there were no late decisions to leave Kalen DeBoer's program.
Starting with Nick Saban's announcement and continuing for weeks, predictions of Crimson Tide roster damage were rampant. The response was massively overblown.
Relief for Alabama Football fans
Alabama Crimson Tide fans can breathe a sigh of relief. Much to the dismay of other fanbases and many in the national media, Bama's roster wounds were inflated. It is true many players from the 2023 roster chose to leave. More than a couple were starters who were expected to be key players in the 2024 season. No Alabama fan is glad Caleb Downs chose a move to Ohio State. The secondary roster was hit heavy with seven players exiting by transfer. At least two of them, Trey Amos and Dezz Ricks appeared slotted to be 2024 starters.
Defining the overall roster impact requires more than listing the exiting players. Returning player talent must be factored in, along with Alabama's transfer additions. In a few cases, incoming freshmen can be anticipated to assume key roles early in their Crimson Tide careers.
There is no algorithm to prove or dispute the claim that follows. Alabama haters will loudly disagree - but Alabama did much better than surviving the transfer attrition. It came away with only minor wounds that should fully heal.
The only position group that may need extra time for healing is the Crimson Tide cornerbacks. Along with Amos and Ricks, Earl Little Jr. and Antonio Kite were expected to compete to follow Kool-Aid McKinstry and Terrion Arnold. USC transfer corner Domani Jackson, along with one or two, highly-touted, incoming freshmen must fill the gap.
Alabama fans were disappointed to lose former 5-Star Kadyn Proctor on the offensive line. Adding transfer Naquil Betrand will help. Even better, with the transfer addition of Parker Brailsford, Alabama should be much improved at Center.
At tight end and wide receiver, Isaiah Bond, Shazz Preston and Amari Niblack were definite losses. But Kalen DeBoer brought in projected starter Germie Bernard and at least one freshman impact receiver in Ryan Williams. Freshman Caleb Odom could quickly improve the Tide's tight end group, with an upside potential possibly higher than Niblack.
After a few transfers at linebacker, Alabama is still loaded at each position. The defensive line gained a rotational starter in transfer LT. Overton.
Remaining naysayers will point to the loss of 5-Star QB recruit, Julian Sayin. Sayin may well become a major college football star, but he was not going to compete for the starting job in 2024. There has been quiet buzz that Austin Mack, in 2025 and beyond will make Alabama fans forget Julian Sayin.
Subtract the exits, add the new players and the 2024 Alabama Football roster will again be one of college football's very best.