Alabama Football is in the new annual frenzy of roster additions and subtractions. What, before NIL, was unpredictable, has become chaos. In the new Transfer Portal window of Dec. 5 through Jan. 18, managing transfer exits and potential additions is a big workload on top of traditional recruiting.
The NCAA Early Signing Period begins on Dec. 21 and continues through Dec. 23. Not all players will sign in the early period and Alabama will have to decide if it holds spots for anyone.
Portal entry does not end on Jan. 18, but it is suspended until a two-week period in early May. The NCAA did not make any change to immediate eligibility rules, for players that have previously transferred. In a vague statement about changes to the waiver process, the NCAA pledged more flexibility.
A revolving door image is fitting to depict the in-and-out flow of annual roster management.
Alabama Football and 2023 Roster Numbers
Alabama football insiders speculate 35 new players will join the Crimson Tide. The final range might be 32-38, depending on the total of Transfer Portal exits. Fifteen Alabama players left Tuscaloosa in last year’s Portal cycle. Some very good players opted for better opportunities in other programs, including multiple transfers to Nebraska and Texas. It became clear during the 2022 season the Tide’s biggest loss was linebacker Drew Sanders to Arkansas.
Adding Tyler Steen, Eli Ricks, Jahmyr Gibbs and Jermaine Burton through the Portal provided the Crimson Tide a clear net gain in Portal transitions. Tyler Harrell was also a welcome addition, but the wide receiver has been hampered by injury.
Alabama Football 2023 Portal Entries
Currently, On3.com lists five Alabama scholarship players in the Portal. They are Braylen Ingraham, Trey Sanders, Khyree Jackson, Damieon George and Tanner Bowles. Christian Leary and Traeshon Holden have announced decisions to transfer. Non-scholarship, Tide punter, Jack Martin is also in the Portal.
The seven scholarship players could be joined by up to another 10 or so players, who later choose a transfer option.
Alabama Football 2023 Signing Class
Alabama currently has 24 verbal commits for the 2023 class. Arguably the most important task is holding onto the five, 5-Star verbal commits, who according to the 247Sports Composite, are ranked within the top 35 players, nationally.
The five are Safety, Caleb Downs (No. 11), Running Back, Justice Haynes (No. 26). Cornerback, Jahlil Hurley (No. 28), Safety, Tony Mitchell (No. 34) and Running Back, Richard Young (No. 35).
The Crimson Tide also has six, 4-Star verbal commits in the top 100 players nationally.
The Tide staff hopes to add at least three more 5-Star prospects; including Edge, Keon Keely (No. 7), Defensive Lineman, James Smith (No. 15) and Edge, Qua Russaw (No. 31).
Nick Saban and his staff are pursuing several other top prospects.
Alabama and Portal Additions
It is too soon for speculation about additions. A considered guess is after adding 30 players in the 2023 signing class, Nick Saban will make room for five transfer additions.
It could easily be May or even June before the 2023 Alabama football roster approaches completion. Typically, some additional attrition continues during the summer.
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