After the retirement of Coach Nick Saban, Alabama Football has seen a mini-exodus, losing a handful of players on the roster as well as a couple prized committed recruits.
The offseason is long, and new coach Kalen DeBoer will eventually replace these departures, likely via the NCAA Transfer Portal.
For the time being, however, Alabama Football is getting thin at two position groups that may need to be addressed urgently. Both the wide receiver room and the secondary have seen numerous exits, which was hardly surprising given the circumstances.
Alabama Football: Lots of movement in WR room
Bama lost wide receiver coach Holmon Wiggins shortly before Coach Saban’s retirement, and leading returning receiver Isaiah Bond quickly hit the portal and transferred to Texas. Prior to Coach Saban’s retirement, this room had already lost Jermaine Burton to the NFL Draft and lesser contributors in Malik Benson and Ja’Corey Brooks to the portal.
Coach Saban’s bombshell announcement also triggered the decommitment of 5-star wide out Ryan Williams. Williams and Bond were slated to be two of the Tide’s top receivers in 2024. With these departures, the receiver group is left with very little experience and depth with just nine scholarship players.
Juniors Kendrick Law and Kobe Prentice have been role players over the past two years and could be primed for breakout seasons. Redshirt sophomore Emmanuel Henderson and sophomore Jalen Hale have shown flashes in limited playing time. Beyond this quartet, Bama has just a pair of redshirt freshmen (Cole Adams and Jaren Hamilton) and a trio of true freshmen (Amari Jefferon, Rico Scott, and Aeryn Hampton).
The wide receiver room needs to add depth and could stand to add some top-end talent, but these are first-world problems for Alabama Football. While the room is getting thin, almost every scholarship receiver on the roster is a former blue-chip recruit. Look for Coach Kalen DeBoer and his offensive staff to add to this group before the spring is over.
Alabama Football: Secondary getting depleted
Alabama has also lost a lot of depth in the secondary. This is equally explainable, as the Crimson Tide lost defensive savants Coach Saban, Kevin Steele, and Travaris Robinson (for the moment at least) in less than a week.
Bama retains All-American safety Caleb Downs, veteran slot corner Malachi Moore, and a rising star on the boundary in cornerback Trey Amos. Behind them are a lot of question marks.
The Tide lost starting corners Kool-Aid McKinstry and Terrion Arnold to the NFL Draft, as well as safety Jaylen Key. The pre-coaching change portal exodus included Kristian Story, Earl Little Jr., and Jake Pope, all of whom had the opportunity to compete for starting roles this fall. After Coach Saban’s announcement, talented young cornerbacks Dezz Ricks and Antonio Kite also hit the portal.
So, what does Bama have left? Essentially, a lot of youth and inexperience. Senior DeVonta Smith could start at the vacant safety spot, but he has an extensive injury history. Also competing for safety roles will be sophomores Tony Mitchell and Bray Hubbard, as well as true freshmen Peyton Woodyard, Red Morgan, Dre Kirkpatrick Jr., and Zay Mincey.
Cornerback is in a similar position. Amos appears to be a lock, and USC transfer addition Domani Jackson also has a leg up in terms of experience. Sophomore Jahlil Hurley and true freshmen Jaylen Mbakwe, Zabien Brown, and Jameer Grimsley round out the cornerback depth chart.
Unless the true freshmen are ready to play immediately, Alabama Football will need to add depth and experience in the secondary via the portal. The potential re-addition of Travaris Robinson would be of significant assistance in this venture.