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Nick Saban can afford to be portal picky


As Nick Saban said it would; before college football free agency began, the game of roster management changed dramatically. Alabama Football has the No. 1, 2023 Signing Class of high school and JUCO players, and CFB experts consider it a ho-hum result.

In the football media, almost no thought is given to how good the selection of a team can be in 2024. It’s almost as if developing young and less experienced players is a triviality.

It’s not like Nick Saban was some kind of fortune teller. All anyone had to do was watch how much college basketball changed when “one-and-done” became the norm for programs lucky enough to land what Dick Vitale playfully coined long ago, the diaper dandies.

College basketball changed, but was not damaged by the “one and done” mentality. Similarly, college football will not be seriously harmed by its current free agency consisting of revolving door transfers and NIL inducements.

That is the top programs will not be hurt. Below the top, which is fast becoming feeder programs, many of their best players will lose every transfer cycle.

It is somewhat ironic that Alabama Football is otherwise satisfied with a feeder program. The difference is for the Crimson Tide, a large majority of transfer exits are pruning, needed to cultivate a stronger roster.

Alabama Football, Nick Saban and Patience

The Crimson Tide has profited significantly in the free agent era. Two of the many examples are Jameson Williams and Jahmyr Gibbs. But unlike almost every other coach, Nick Saban can afford to be very selective.

Based on the On3 team rankings, Alabama is second to last of the SEC teams and number 67 in current Transfer Portal success. As I suggested a few days ago, the number of Transfer Portal exits for the Crimson Tide doesn’t matter much. Nick Saban’s consistently strong recruiting classes mean that many top recruits will be in high demand, falling short of their personal goals in Tuscaloosa.

What’s important to Saban is that no matter how much the Crimson Tide needs more competition for new starting roles, does the Transfer Portal contain a potential, immediate starter? Currently, the Portal is almost picked clean. But that will change in May. If an experienced safety or perhaps a defensive lineman becomes available AND, if Saban believes they can make an impact in the 2023 rotation, then another transfer player or two could be added.

Ole Miss, LSU, Auburn, Tennessee and other teams getting rave media reviews for their Portal additions is no reason for Alabama football fans to worry. Nick Saban can afford to be picky and patient.




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