Since its introduction in 2018, the transfer portal has turned college football on its head. The portal opened once again on Monday, and an unprecedented number of players entered their name very quickly. In just barely more than one day, over 1,100 players entered their names into the portal, shattering all previous records.
1. In just 24 hours, over 1,100 players entered the transfer portal.
2. There are just over 11,000 available scholarships.
3. That's 10 percent of college football players searching for a new spot.
4. Early Signing Period is two weeks from now.
5. Not everybody is coming out.
— RJ Young (@RJ_Young) December 6, 2022
Some teams lost more players to the portal than others. In particular, SEC West rivals Alabama and Texas A&M lost several players to the portal. Since the portal opened, the Crimson Tide have lost 12 players, while the Aggies have lost 20.
Both teams are coming off disappointing seasons, but for very different reasons.
Many teams would kill for Alabama’s 10-2 season with a Sugar Bowl berth, but the Crimson Tide expect to compete for the national title every single year. Meanwhile, Texas A&M began the season ranked sixth in the country, but floundered to a 5-7 record.
Alabama and Texas A&M may have both lost significant talent to the transfer portal, but they are in very different situations. Not only is Alabama losing fewer players to the portal, but they are also better-equipped to handle the losses.
Without further ado, let’s go over why Alabama should not worry about the transfer portal departures, but Texas A&M should.
Why Alabama must not worry
First and foremost, Alabama only lost about half as many players to the portal as Texas A&M did. Beyond that, though the Crimson Tide also lost fewer impact players.
The most prominent Alabama player to enter the portal is wide receiver Traeshon Holden, who had 25 catches for 331 yards and six touchdowns this season. Others, such as offensive lineman Amari Knight and wide receiver Christian Leary, may have been prominent recruits, but have not made a substantial impact at Alabama. The Tide will be able to replace these players with almost no effort.
The first part of replacing that production comes in an outstanding 2023 recruiting class. Alabama has the best recruiting class in the country, according to 247 Sports, a class that features two five-stars and 18 four-stars. And this is all before the early signing period in December and National Signing Day in February, meaning that the Tide’s class will only grow stronger.
Furthermore, it’s important to remember that the portal just opened up. That means players have only decided they are leaving their current school and have not decided on their new school. While every team can benefit from bringing in transfers, Alabama is in great position to land many prominent players.
Alabama is a perennial powerhouse that is always a contender and consistently produces NFL players. Additionally, the Crimson Tide have had several recent transfers find success, including Jameson Williams, Jahmyr Gibbs and Henry To’oTo’o. Transfers will line up to play in Tuscaloosa with all these factors in mind.
Finally, Alabama has arguably the greatest college football coach ever in Nick Saban. Not only will players flock to Tuscaloosa to play for him, but he is always adapting to new trends in college football. As long as he’s at the helm, Alabama will be just fine.
Why Texas A&M must worry
On the other hand, Texas A&M’s departures are big cause for concern. The Aggies have had 20 players enter the portal, the most of any team in the country by a decent margin. Additionally, the Aggies have lost some very important players, including quarterback Haynes King and five-star wide receiver Chris Marshall.
Texas A&M will also have a tougher time replacing that production thanks to a weaker recruiting class. The Aggies have the 18th-ranked class in the nation, featuring two five-stars, seven four-stars and three three-stars. While still a solid class with room to grow, it is a massive drop from their top-ranked class in 2022.
Furthermore, Texas A&M is not as big of a transfer destination as other programs. Sure, the appeal of playing at an SEC school with a massive fanbase will attract some transfers, but other schools can offer the same. With the Aggies just coming off a losing season, getting transfers to buy in may be more difficult.
Finally, Jimbo Fisher is not even close to the coach that Nick Saban is. Yes, he is an outstanding recruiter, he has a national championship under his belt and a solid record of sending players to the NFL. However, he has glaring flaws, is nowhere near as adaptable as Saban, and this losing season is a black eye on his track record.
Make no mistake, the Aggies will still grab some prominent transfers and will likely be better in 2023. However, they will struggle to replace the talent they lost in the transfer portal. Fisher and the Aggies took a massive punch to the mouth this season, but how they respond to it will be the true test.