James Jones Column: Alabama losing football players to transfer portal

Published 12:22 pm Thursday, January 25, 2024

The University of Alabama football program has become like a clearance sale in a department store.

 Since head coach Nick Saban announced his retirement on Jan. 10,  a total of 10 Crimson Tide players have entered the transfer portal. Kids leaving the Capstone in Tuscaloosa has been a topic of conversation to Selma Quarterback Club members and Dallas-Wilcox Bama Club members.

The Crimson Tide departures are safety Caleb Downs, wide receiver Isiah Bond, offensive tackle Jadyn Proctor, linebacker Shawn Murphy, cornerback Desmond Ricks, defensive back Antonio Kite, defensive back Trey Amos, tight end Amari Niblack, cornerback Jameer Grimsley and quarterback Julian Sayin.

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I understand why these kids are leaving because they all wanted to play for Saban. We all know that Saban is the greatest coach ever, winning six of his record-seven national championships at Alabama.  Saban was a master motivator who always got the best out of players.

As I wrote in this space last week, Kalen DeBeor deserves a chance to succeed Saban. DeBeor embraced the challenge and expects the Crimson Tide fan base to come after him during the season.

Sayin is the one player that surprised me. I expected a California signal-caller to play for a former Washington coach.  Especially in the spring when Huskies quarterback and Heisman Trophy runner-up Michael Penix Jr. becomes a high pick in the NFL Draft.

On top of that the national media jumped all over the Crimson Tide for the high number in the transfer portal.

Alabama has been the butt of jokes all season long, especially the Crimson Tide’s horrid performance against South Florida. The Crimson Tide made it to the College Football Playoffs and lost to eventual national champion Michigan.

 Some Washington players are transferring to Alabama and I believe more will in the future. The transfer portal rules need some adjusting.