Projecting who stays and who leaves Alabama after the bowl game
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AP Photo/Vasha Hunt
For the 15th straight year, Alabama has accumulated more than 10 wins and lost no more than three games. The 45-20 win over Kansas State in the Sugar Bowl ended the Crimson Tide season 11-2.
It’s a nice season for about 96 percent of FBS programs. However, by Bama standards, 2022 was a failure.
Nick Saban’s program has not won an SEC championship or made the college football playoffs for a second time in the past decade. A loss to LSU in early November ended Alabama’s hopes of redemption after losing last season’s national title fight to conference opponents Georgia.
When the Crimson Tide sprint onto the field in 2023, the roster will be markedly different as quarterback Bryce Young and edge rusher Will Anderson Jr. leave Tuscaloosa and a new wave of top talent will arrive.
Who is going?
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A major asterisk is that some of these players are still eligible to play because the 2020 season was not counted as a sporting year. Key seniors like guard Emil Ekiyor, tight end Cameron Latu, defensive linemen Byron Young and DJ Dale, linebacker Henry To’oTo’o and safeties DeMarcco Hellams and Jordan Battle could all go to the NFL.
In addition to the seniors, Alabama will also lose a few superstars. Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Bryce Young could be the pick of the 2023 NFL draft, and edge rusher Will Anderson Jr. shouldn’t be far behind. Running back Jahmyr Gibbs and defensive backs Brian Branch and Malachi Moore are also contenders to leave.
While the reaction might be to play the world’s smallest fiddle, this was quite a tough stretch for Alabama in the portal. Starting guard Javion Cohen made the move to Miami, and former 4-star linemen Tommy Brockermeyer, Amari Kight and Tanner Bowles also went through. The receiving corps also took a significant hit with the departures of Traeshon Holden, Aaron Anderson, JoJo Earle and Christian Leary.
Who do you think will stay?
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AP Photo/Vasha Hunt
Key Sophomore Defense Attorney
While more than a dozen Alabama players are likely chasing the NFL, that trip is at least a year away for edge rusher Dallas Turner and cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry. Turner had 18 tackles for loss in two seasons leading up to the Sugar Bowl, and McKinstry was named the third All-America team in 2022.
Yes’ Corey Brooks, WR
Well, at least he’s still here! Alabama seems destined for a new-look receiver corps, but Ja’Corey Brooks gives the Tide a decent foundation. On Saturday, he caught 37 passes for team-high rushing for 623 yards and seven touchdowns in his sophomore year. While the tide certainly needs him to grow into a bigger threat, Brooks is a very talented receiver.
return from injury
Alabama would certainly have liked to use receiver Tyler Harrell more often in 2022. Unfortunately for Harrell and the Tide, a foot injury prevented the Louisville transfer for much of the season. On defense, Alabama will probably have cornerback Earl Little Jr. and linemen Justin Eboigbe and Isaiah Hastings available next year.
Who is on the way?
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5 Star Defender
The rich will indeed get richer. During the early signing phase, Alabama landed a quartet of 5-star defenders. The list includes safety Caleb Downs and defensemen Keon Keeley, James Smith and Qua Russaw.
Top running backs
Additionally, the Crimson Tide picked two of the top four rated running backs in the nation. Five-star Justice Haynes is the featured player, although Richard Young is also a top 50 prospect. As usual, the talent in the Alabama backfield should be near absurd with Jase McClellan and Roydell Williams both expected to return in 2023.
Tight end CJ Dippre who is pass from Maryland, is the only incoming transfer so far.