What Saban’s transfer portal additions say about Alabama this season

Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban looks at players against Mississippi State at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, AL on Saturday, Oct 22, 2022. (Photo provided by SEC Media Portal)

By WVUA 23 Digital Reporter Sam Thornton

TUSCALOOSA-University of Alabama football head coach Nick Saban doesn’t have a reputation for being an active seeker during transfer portal season. But ever since the 2021 season’s adoption of name, image and likeness deals for athletes, Saban’s been taking advantage of the portal with notable pickups like Jameson Williams, Jahmyr Gibbs, Henry To’oTo’o and Jermaine Burton.

It seemed to college football fans nationwide that Saban is making use of the portal to fill some significant but not-as-noticable holes in this year’s team.

In short, while Saban was dipping his toes in the transfer portal waters before, this offseason there’s been a full splash in beefing up particular areas of concern.

What does this tactic mean for the sake of this years team?

The Southeastern Conference will once again be the most dominant conference in college football. Rival Georgia is projected by numerous outlets to finish undefeated in conference play after winning back-to-back National Championships. National college football columnist for On3sports Jesse Simonton has Alabama ranked third in his SEC post-spring power rankings behind Georgia and LSU.

LSU head football coach Brian Kelly added 12 players to his 2023 roster via the transfer portal. His aggressiveness in adding depth to an already talented roster seems to be a tactic designed to dethrone Georgia as reigning SEC champions.

“What we’ve tried to do when it comes to the portal is look at guys that we think can make an immediate impact on our team,” Saban said during an off-season press conference.

Saban is aware of the holes that needed depth and competition, most notably Alabama’s secondary. The addition of former Louisiana Lafayette corner Trey Amos and safety Jaylen Key from UAB will bring depth and experience to Alabama’s secondary.

Although a formidable unit before their commitments highlighted by All-SEC corner Kool-Aid McKinstry and the arrival of the top rated freshman safety Caleb Downs, the recipe in the modern SEC game is to be as deep as possible on all fronts of the field.

The addition of former Maryland tight end CJ Dippre was the only transfer portal acquisation that was a must need for Alabama. Dippre is expected to be a starter from week one of the season, and will look to have an immediate impact in Alabama’s passing game.

The remaining two transfer portal additions include former Notre Dame quarterback Tyler Buchner and interior linebacker Trezman Marshall from Georgia. Buchner will be reunited with first year offensive coordinator Tommy Rees, where the duo spent two seasons at Notre Dame together.

Combined, the five transfer portal additions competed in 50 games last season. These additions aren’t meant to be flashy unlike the 2021 and 2022 classes, but each player will bring a seasoned mentality to their respective positions.

The moves made by Saban should be encouraging for Tide fans because he clearly hasn’t lost the expectation of winning national championships every season. Just because you add depth to a needed position doesn’t mean you’ve lost faith in the original core.

It’s tougher to win the conference today than a decade ago, and these additions should present an upgraded presence on the Crimson Tide roster.

Categories: Alabama, College Sports, Local News