Alabama Football experienced the first wave of the annual transfer portal exodus, having already lost 13 players to the portal in 2022. Most of those players entered the portal quickly following Alabama’s Iron Bowl win, and several of them have now found new homes.
Offensive guard Javion Cohen has committed to the Miami Hurricanes of the ACC. Cohen started at guard for two seasons for Alabama Football. Miami has been an underwhelming team for several years now, but Coach Mario Cristobal is bringing in a high-powered 2023 recruiting class. The class includes two of the top offensive tackles in the nation, who could potentially find themselves starting alongside Cohen for the Canes.
Junior wide receiver Traeshon Holden and senior cornerback Khyree Jackson have both announced their commitments to the Oregon Ducks. Holden and Jackson are similar in that they both started multiple games in their Alabama careers but were eventually usurped by younger players.
Holden seemed primed for a breakout year in 2022. While he was a solid player that showed flashes of being more, it never quite came to fruition. He finished the year with 25 catches for 331 yards, and tied for second on the team with six touchdown grabs. Holden will now be catching passes from former Auburn quarterback Bo Nix, who experienced a career revival in Eugene.
Khyree Jackson had some rough outings, including the 2021 national championship game and the regular season game at Texas in 2022. Jackson was picked on in Austin, and did not appear to have the speed to keep up with smaller receivers on vertical routes. He gave up a couple big plays early, and was fortunate to avoid giving up a few more. Jackson never started another game for Alabama football. Still, he has great physical tools at 6’3” and extensive SEC experience. He will certainly have a chance to grab a starting job at Oregon.
Sophomore wide receiver Christian Leary has committed to UCF. The Orlando native will be returning home, and will be joining former Alabama receiver Javon Baker. The two were teammates for one year in the 2021 season.
A fan favorite because of his speed, Leary’s limited usage and inability to crack the lineup ultimately led to his decision to transfer. Leary caught three passes and had three rushing attempts in his Alabama career, scoring a touchdown against Arkansas in his freshman season. For reference, Javon Baker caught just nine passes in two seasons at Alabama, then transferred to UCF and became their leading receiver. Hopefully Leary can find a prominent role as well.
Sophomore receiver Jojo Earle is also going back home, as he has announced his commitment to TCU. Like Leary, Earle came to Tuscaloosa in the 2021 class and was lauded for his speed. He was able to break into the rotation as a freshman, but injuries limited him in both of his seasons at Alabama. He leaves with 24 catches, 303 yards, and two touchdowns in his career. He will join a solid TCU team that went to the Big 12 championship game and is slated to play in the College Football Playoff this season.
True freshman wide receiver Aaron Anderson was one of the more surprising transfer portal entrants. The Louisiana product is transferring to LSU, who finished a close second to Alabama in a narrow recruiting battle last season. Anderson was a 5-star receiver in the class of 2022, but spent most of the season injured and did not record any stats. This could potentially be Alabama’s biggest loss if Anderson pans out, considering his high ceiling and the fact that he is joining an SEC West rival in LSU.
Other transfers include reserve offensive lineman Tanner Bowles (committed to Kentucky), reserve defensive lineman Braylen Ingraham (committed to Syracuse), and backup punter Jack Martin (committed to Houston).
Alabama is still awaiting the decisions of offensive linemen Tommy Brockermeyer, Amari Kight, and Damieon George, as well as running back Trey Sanders. Brockermeyer, a former consensus 5-star from the state of Texas, has been crystal balled to join Jojo Earle at TCU.
The assumption is that most of these players, if not all, will find starting roles at their new destinations. There should be lots of opportunities in the 2023 season for Alabama football fans to watch former players compete in a new environment.