17 of the 27 Recruits in Alabama’s 2019 Class Have Transferred

I saw this stat brought up on the Menace 2 Sports show on Tuesday. Alabama had the #1 class in the country that year.

Let’s go over the names and what happened to these guys:

  1. Antonio Alfano DE
    • ➡️ Transferred to Colorado in November 2019
  2. Trey Sanders RB
    • ➡️ Entered transfer portal last month
  3. Evan Neal OT
    • ✅ Stayed at Alabama, drafted first round of 2022 NFL draft
  4. Pierce Quick OT
    • ➡️ Transferred to Georgia Tech in December 2021
  5. Jordan Battle S
    • ✅ Still at Alabama, planning on entering 2023 NFL draft
  6. Ishmael Sopsher DT
    • ➡️ Transferred to USC in December 2020
  7. Justin Eboigbe DE
    • ✅ Still at Alabama
  8. Amari Kight OT
    • ➡️ Entered transfer portal this week
  9. Byron Young DT
    • ✅ Still at Alabama
  10. Shane Lee LB
    • ➡️ Transferred to USC in January 2022
  11. DeMarcco Hellams S
    • ✅ Still at Alabama
  12. Scooby Carter CB
    • ➡️ Transferred to Mississippi Gulf Coast in July 2020
  13. Brandon Turnage CB
    • ➡️ Transferred to Georgia in May 2021
  14. Christian Harris ILB
    • ✅ Stayed at Alabama, drafted by Houston Texans in 2022
  15. Kevin Harris DE
    • ➡️ Transferred to Georgia Tech in January 2020
  16. Marcus Banks CB
    • ➡️ Transferred to Mississippi State in January 2022
  17. King Mwikuta DE
    • ➡️ Transferred to Arkansas State in January 2022
  18. Braylen Ingraham DE
    • ➡️ Entered transfer portal in September 2022
  19. Darrian Dalcourt OG
    • ✅ Still at Alabama
  20. Taulia Tagovailoa QB
    • ➡️ Transferred to Maryland in 2020
  21. Keilan Robinson RB
    • ➡️ Transferred to Texas in 2021
  22. DJ Dale DT
    • ✅ Still Alabama
  23. John Metchie WR
    • ✅ Played 3 years at Alabama, drafted to NFL in 2022
  24. Tanner Bowles OG
    • ➡️ Just entered transfer portal this week
  25. Jahleel Billingsley TE
    • ➡️ Transferred to Texas in Jan. 2022
  26. Paul Tyson QB
    • ➡️ Transferred to Arizona State in January 2022
  27. Will Reichard K
    • ✅ Still at Alabama

I know things are crazy right now with the transfer portal and NIL (over 1000 players have entered the portal in the past week), but this is not normal.

I have been practically shouting from the mountaintops over the past few months that Alabama football is in decline, so you already know how I feel about the overall state of that program. I have even predicted that Nick Saban will retire after the season and that Dabo will be the head coach at Alabama within 5 weeks. I still think there’s a 50-50 chance of that happening, maybe better than that.

With more players transferring out of Alabama, they are now more reliant ever on the other side of the transfer portal–i.e. bringing guys in from other schools, like Jameson Williams, Jahmyr Gibbs, Henry To’o To’o, Jermaine Burton.

Usually college football teams bake in some attrition ever year. You typically pull in around 23-25 recruits a year if you’re a big time program, sometimes as many as 27. But the typical CFB roster at the FBS level is 85 scholarships max. So essentially you’re counting on losing 2-4 guys per year, sometimes more, sometimes less–and not just to transfers but also to injuries, and even some guys get into legal trouble, academic ineligibility concerns, etc.

You do not count on losing 17 guys from one recruiting class to the portal.

That is just nuts.

This tweet is a bit old but Alabama is right now one of the hardest-hit programs in terms of the transfer portal:

With big time programs like Alabama and Clemson, there’s going to be a certain number of guys leaving every year just because of how talented their players are, and how there are only 22 starting spots. You’ve got four and five star guys at Alabama and Clemson (to a lesser extent) that don’t even sniff the starting lineup, so of course they’re going to move elsewhere to get some playing time.

And then there’s the real problem of NIL. Starting-caliber players at schools like Alabama, who are upperclassmen, are now seeing freshmen and sophomores getting massive NIL deals. And if you’re the starter, and your backup is making twice as much money as you are, that’s going to piss you off. That’s bullshit, in your eyes. So into the portal you go to try and collect a bag from some other football program. NIL is a real problem in this regard.

On that note, I’m working on another article about why these NIL deals for high school seniors are so insane. Being a highly rated recruit doesn’t guarantee you jack shit. Not at the college level, and especially not at the NFL level.

Just from the initial research I’ve done, analyzing the top 10 recruits from the years 2007-2011, only 10 of the 50 guys on my list so far even became first round picks in the NFL draft. 14 of those 50 guys went undrafted in the NFL. So that means if you’re a top-10 high school recruit, you have a greater chance of being undrafted in the NFL draft than you do of going in round 1.

That’s why I think it’s absolutely ridiculous when I see some of the NIL deals schools are handing out to high school seniors. These kids haven’t proven jack shit. Sure, they’re talented and have lots of potential, but there is a very strong chance that a lot of these guys bust at the college level.

Think about some of these names that were top-10 recruits between 2007-2011: Ray Drew, George Farmer, Kyle Prater, Russell Shepard, Bryce Brown. Not only did these guys fail to make it at the NFL, do you remember any of them at the college level? I don’t. These were all five-star guys. These were the most elite recruits in the country when they came out of high school, and they–and many others like them–never really amounted to much even at the college level.

So for high school seniors to be getting seven figure NIL deals, it’s just ludicrous.

But that’s the way the sport works nowadays. If you don’t hand out bags to these high schoolers, somebody else will. NIL is absolutely out of control, and needs to be reigned in, but paying recruits large sums of money will always be a part of college football. It always has been and it always will be.

Back to Alabama. Recruiting is the lifeblood of the program. One bad recruiting class can cripple a program for a long time. College football programs are not meant to handle that much attrition, even Alabama.

Not all of your recruits are going to turn into great players, but if you have a lot of them, you maximize the number of guys who can potentially turn into quality contributors. Now, Bama has has very little margin for error. If you recruit 27 guys and only 10 of them stick around, you can’t really afford for any of them to be busts. They all need to turn into quality contributors or else you’re going to be in some trouble. Not only this, but one of the 10 Bama players from that 2019 class that’s still there is a kicker, so they really only have 9 position players still around.

I am not entirely sure what’s causing all these transfers at Alabama. It’s probably a combination of NIL and playing time, which are the top two reasons any player transfers.

But what if it’s something more, like people know Nick Saban is retiring soon?

Or what if it’s a side-effect of Saban getting older, as in Alabama is not developing players the way they used to?

I don’t know. I don’t want to speculate. But what’s going on at Alabama is abnormal and probably a sign of trouble.

I’ve been trying to tell you all season long that Alabama isn’t Alabama anymore.

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