A look at why 5 Alabama players entered the transfer window, and how it affects the tides
It wasn’t exactly Black Tuesday, but the Alabama pipeline opened at the transfer gate the day after the CFP Championship game.
Five players – two of whom started matches last season – have put their name into the database in hopes of finding a new home for 2022. They join a group of four former teammates who have been in and out of elsewhere before the season ends in the process. That sent high-profile players to Tuscaloosa.
It’s just a fact of January in college football by the rules as it is. None of Tuesday’s five entries came as much of a surprise considering the hypothetical depth chart again for next season. The same is true with a Wednesday report from On3 This cornerback Josh Jobe is entering the draft and not taking the super senior year he could have used due to the COVID 2020 season.
Let’s take a look at the departures and what they mean for Alabama’s transition into this off-season.
The biggest name in the group has to be Jahleel Billingsley. Few entered the 2021 season with its upward trajectory and the possibility of his real breakout as a rookie never came. His 17 receptions fell short of his sophomore total while spending time at Nick Saban’s kennel on multiple occasions. The Chicago producer missed time early in August with COVID-19 protocols and had to work his way back up to the depth chart.
“He knows what he’s supposed to do,” Saban said on August 21 when asked about the tight end. “You know this is not a democracy. Not everyone can do what they want to do. Not everyone can do what they feel like doing.”
Billingsley didn’t score a catch until Game Three when an athlete pulled in a 26-yard touchdown in Florida as a reminder of what’s possible. He had five catches the next week for 105 yards against the Southern Miss and four the following Saturday for 47 yards against the Ole Miss.
Things went south from there with some very costly loss-making dips at Texas A&M and he only had one multi-moment game the rest of the year. Saban did not wear the impact of his landing on the Alabama final drive at College Station that forced a punt kick. The team has returned the ball enough time to kick the winning goal.
Truth end, Cameron Lato saw his role expanding dramatically did not bode well for Billingsley’s standings in 2022. The converted full-back had 26 passes for 410 yards (compared to 17 for Billingsley’s 256) while finishing second in the squad with eight touchdowns. . A big season in 2021 could have jumped Billingsley in the NFL Draft. Instead, he will be looking for a new college home for 2022.
LB Drew Sanders
Wally Pepe’s name comes to mind.
Sanders rose to the role of outside full-back initially against Will Anderson after Christopher Allen was injured in the first week and did well. Then, as Yankee’s first baseman from 1923 whose injury put Lou Gehrig into the squad for the next 2,130 games, Sanders was injured. His hand injury occurred during an Ole Miss match where he stopped five times with two accelerations in the middle.
The former five-star potential player from Denton, Texas won’t play again for a month. By then, another five-star talent in the Dallas Turner had cemented his place in the rotation for Alabama. The freshman’s 8.5 sacks finished third on the team behind Anderson 17.5 and Fedarian Mathis’ nine. Turner’s athletic burst off the edge will make him and Anderson a killer combination in 2022, likely leaving Sanders with a role dwarfed by what he had before his injury.
An early favorite for landing shouldn’t come as a surprise. Sanders is scheduled to visit Texas – Alabama’s second-week rival in September – According to On3.
QB Paul Tyson
The Hewitt-Trussville alum came to Tuscaloosa in the same class as Taulia Tagovailoa but neither came close to the starting assignment. Tagoviloa has moved to Maryland where he started the past two seasons while Tyson will now look elsewhere for similar success.
Bear Bryant’s grandson was Bryce Young’s backup this year after finishing third on the depth chart last fall. Tyson threw assists in four quarterback games, and completed 10 of 15 throws for 150 yards.
He was also the owner of kick attempts before a falling exchange led to James Burnip being sued for his replacement at the Auburn Game and beyond.
Alabama will return to rookie sophomore quarterback Jalen Milleroo while adding new five-star student Ty Simpson. The newcomer participated in pot preparation practices during early spring registration.
A few others put their names in the gate including attacking lineman Tommy Brown and linebacker King Moykota.
Brown, who graduated from the same Mater D (California) high school as Bryce Young, was a big reserve guard in his fourth season. He had one start in left guard when Gavion Cohen was injured in the New Mexico State game while on reserve duty to relieve right guard Emile Equiure in a few other games. With an abundance of highly-rated young talent on the offensive line, Brown will be able to find a way to start a job with less resistance elsewhere.
King Mwikuta is a bit of an outside quarterback with over-talent and the same problem as Sanders. The would-be four-star player didn’t penetrate deep with a new batch of talented drifters on their way to Tuscaloosa.
And with Joby, the upcoming transfer from LSU All-American Eli Ricks along with rising stars like Kool-Aid McKinstry means his first job won’t be as secure as it was in the 2021 season. He was honored on Senior Day in November and will move to a Football League setup American football after a foot injury kept him out of the two play-offs.
This certainly isn’t the end of the mass migration from Tuscaloosa to the Gateway and NFL draft. Underclassmen have until January 17 to enter the draft and the transfer portal is open year-round.
|player||new school||247 HS Rank||Begins|
|CB Marcus Banks||Mississippi||127||1|
|WR Xavier Williams||Utah||143||0|
|OT pierce rapid||Georgia Tech||40||0|
|LB Jackson Bratton||UAB||155||0|
|QB Paul Tyson||Unavailable||321||0|
|LB Drew Sanders||Unavailable||22||3|
|OT Tommy Brown||Unavailable||132||0|
|LB King Mwikuta||Unavailable||158||0|