Two players have decided to cut their 2022 seasons short at Alabama, and no, it’s not Bryce Young and Will Anderson.
Running back Trey Sanders, a consensus 5-star recruit who has battled injuries during his career at Alabama, is in the transfer portal after the news broke on Tuesday. Fan reaction was sympathetic, as many were sad at the promising player’s departure wished Sanders well in his next step.
Cornerback Khyree Jackson is also in the transfer portal as the news broke the very next day. Jackson’s departure, however, was more controversial than Sanders once the facts are put in order.
Jackson was a part of a secondary that’s received a lot of heat with several poor performances this season. He was a starting corner at certain points for head coach Nick Saban, but with Terrion Arnold and Eli Ricks in rotation, the second corner spot beside Kool-Aid McKinstry was always on thin ice.
Fast forward a couple games and a reporter asked where Jackson has been (he didn’t play), and Saban, answering the last question of the press conference, simply responded “he’s suspended,” and walked out. That was the Monday before the news regarding the transfer portal broke.
Sanders and Jackson entering the transfer portal bring more attention to an Alabama program that already has a share of storylines, from the decisions of Young and Anderson for the bowl game, to how this year’s team isn’t up to the Alabama standard. But another storyline that should garner a little more notoriety is how this looks to the talent that will wear the Crimson and White next season, specifically the two 5-star running backs in the 2023 recruiting class.
Justice Haynes and Richard Young are two of the top-3 running backs in the class, and both are committed to Alabama. With Sanders transferring, that’s one less returner the two recruits have to fight for carries. Besides, even if Jahmyr Gibbs declares for the NFL Daft – which he likely will but it’s less certain than Young and Anderson – that still leaves Jase McClellan, Roydell Williams and Jamarion Miller in competition for RB1.
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Haynes has also been adamant recently about his commitment, stating it was “news to me” when a report was released saying Haynes would flip to Georgia.
Running back is always a premier position, and it is one that’ll soon have two more names in contention.
On the defensive side, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to say cornerback is a position with a lot of questions, and it would be more if McKinstry was eligible for the draft. The next domino to fall will be whether Ricks decides to stay for another year, head to the NFL, or transfer again.
The vision of Ricks becoming the starting corner at Alabama finally came to fruition over the last few games, after injuries early on and struggles to get into the rotation, but if he leaves, only Arnold and Jaquez Robinson remain on the roster. Insert Tony Mitchell, the consensus 5-star defensive back who is listed as a safety, but could potentially play corner. Both he and Caleb Downs could be the answer for an Alabama defense that plays a lot of nickel and dime, and after this season’s showing, Saban and the defense could use all the defensive help possible.
See also: Alabama Defensive Back Khyree Jackson Enters NCAA Transfer Portal
Running Back Trey Sanders Enters Transfer Portal
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