Wednesday is said to be to be Nick Saban's Ferrari-driving day. But the Alabama football coach was having no joyrides in Tuscaloosa yesterday. It was a heavy player meetings day for Saban during the extended Transfer Portal opening that ends on Jan. 6.
One way to describe the day is that for more than a few Alabama Crimson Tide players the 'train was leaving the station' in T-Town. Some Crimson Tide fans might be concerned by a few of the Portal exits, that is if all the announcements result in exits. Around 2,000 players have gone into the Portal this cycle. Almost two dozen changed their minds and decided not to transfer.
Also important to remember is this college football's pruning season. Alabama was estimated to be about 10 players over the 85 scholarship limit and that is without adding more transfer players. A guess is 12-16 players will find new teams. It could be a few more, but like last year, almost all the moves will help both the player and the team.
Alabama lost 18 players to transfer in the 2023 cycle. Nick Saban's response was,
"I'm not mentioning any names, but there's only like one player I was really like disappointed that the guy didn't stay here and I couldn't understand why he was leaving"- Nick Saban
Alabama football insiders believe that 'one player' was Aaron Anderson, who transferred to LSU.
Commenting on motivations for a Crimson Tide player to leave, Saban bluntly said "this is not for everybody."
Alabama Football Portal Update
Eight offensive players have transferred or entered the Portal. They are QB Tyler Buchner (to Notre Dame to play Lacrosse), WR Ja'Corey Brooks (to Louisville), WR Shazz Preston, OL Seth McLaughlin, OL Terrence Ferguson II, WR Malik Benson, QB Eli Holstein, and TE Miles Kistelman. Additionally, wide receiver Thaiu Jones-Bell entered the Transfer Portal a month ago, but Jones-Bell was not on the 2023 Alabama Football roster.
Five Crimson Tide defensive players have entered the Portal. They are defensive linemen Anquin Barnes (to Colorado) Monkell Goodwine and Isaiah Hastings, plus defensive backs Earl Little II and Kristian Story.
The biggest surprise on Wednesday was the decision by Earl Little. According to statements he made in California, Little's intention was to stay with Crimson Tide. Perhaps he will become a player that exits the Portal by not changing teams.
Most notable on Wednesday was a decision by Ty Simpson to stick with the Crimson Tide. Simpson's patience to stay in Tuscaloosa and compete for the quarterback job is commendable. Nick Saban will make select roster additions from the Portal, but none will be a quarterback.