Alabama Football: How many more transfers wil Kalen DeBoer take?

Missouri v Alabama
Missouri v Alabama / Brandon Sumrall/GettyImages

Coach Kalen DeBoer has been forced to take an unorthodox approach to assembling his roster during his first offseason at the helm for Alabama Football. The sudden retirement of Coach Nick Saban, compounded with the unpredictable nature of the NCAA transfer portal, resulted in DeBoer inheriting a roster that had some deficiencies in spite of its obvious talent.

In response, DeBoer has already utilized the portal more than Coach Saban ever did in his time at Alabama. Coach Saban never took more than five incoming transfers in a single offseason, and the Tide already has eight transfers on board for the 2024 season. 

Granted, three of these transfers committed to the Crimson Tide while Saban was still captaining the ship. Former Texas A&M defensive lineman LT Overton, former Texas A&M offensive lineman Naquil Betrand, and former USC cornerback Domani Jackson all committed to Alabama back in December. Perhaps this suggests that Saban was going to set a new high-water mark anyway, but DeBoer was left with no choice but to hit the portal hard.

The five transfers that have joined the Crimson Tide since Coach DeBoer was introduced include four of his former players at Washington in center Parker Brailsford, quarterback Austin Mack, wide receiver Germie Bernard, and tight end Josh Cuevas. The fifth portal commit is former Michigan safety Keon Sabb, a much-needed addition to the Alabama secondary. 

So, how many more transfers should Kalen DeBoer be expected to take in 2024?

With 30 outgoing transfers, Coach DeBoer has plenty of wiggle room to add talent to Bama’s 2024 roster. The post-spring transfer portal window will be very interesting to watch, as it will be DeBoer’s first true opportunity to hit back in the portal. Thus far, he has only been able to consider transfers from the handful of other programs that are dealing with head coaching changes. 

It doesn’t appear to be in Coach DeBoer’s nature to go after high-profile transfers that don’t fit his culture or could potentially upset the locker room. This strategy, which is growing in popularity and has been adopted by teams like Ohio State and Ole Miss this offseason, was also foreign to Coach Saban. For this reason, I don’t expect Alabama to spend April plucking big-name guys from notable programs, no matter how much the fan base clamors for transfer portal vengeance. 

Instead, I expect Coach DeBoer and his staff to continue doing what they have been, which is doing their due diligence and finding quality players who are program fits at positions of need.

Fortunately for the staff, Coach Saban didn’t leave behind a roster with very many needs. The Tide is already stacked at most positions on the football field, and will just need some finishing touches to be ready for the fall.

In order to have sufficient quality depth across the board, I believe Alabama should add two more offensive linemen and two more defensive backs via the portal. Versatility and experience will be key attributes, as Bama is currently thin and very young at multiple positions across the offensive line and in the secondary. 

While it has talent in these position rooms, we will have to wait until spring practice to see how the Tide’s youngsters are developing. Should Bama’s in-house talent be ready to start at positions like offensive tackle and cornerback, then it will only need to add depth pieces.

If the young guns aren’t ready, however, Coach DeBoer may be faced with the challenging task of finding transfers that are ready to start at some of the most difficult positions on the field. 

So far, DeBoer has answered every question regarding his ability to assemble talent, and has provided no reason to question his decision-making going forward. In my opinion, this roster is just a couple pieces away from competing for a national championship immediately in year one under Kalen DeBoer.

Until he proves otherwise, he should be trusted to make the right moves and put a contender on the field this fall.