Nick Saban Issues Blunt Warning on the Future of College Football

Recruiting in modern college football is much different from how it was 10 years ago.

Now, with something called the transfer portal, teams can easily find older players who are ready to play well right away and help the team.

Balancing recruiting in the time of the transfer portal has been a big topic this week, especially during the early signing period. That's when high school players officially agree to join a college team.

Nick Saban, the coach of Alabama's football team, was asked on Thursday how his team handles recruiting now that the transfer portal is a thing.

"We don’t really have a specific number on it. Basically, we look at the transfer portal a lot like free agency. If we have a need on our team, because if a guy is going to transfer, he probably needs to play. He’s looking for a place to play. So, it’s important for him to be able to play. It’s important for you to be able to need him to play," Saban said during his weekly appearance on "The Pat McAfee Show."

"So, we look at the transfer portal like, if we’re missing maybe a left tackle, or we’re missing a linebacker on defense – whatever the position is – we’re really searching to try to compliment our roster with guys that we can get from the transfer portal."

Alabama's football team has only one player coming from the transfer portal for the 2024 season. But, they still got the second-best group of new high school players this year, as ranked by 247 Sports.

This way of doing things is very different from what Deion Sanders, the coach of the Colorado Buffaloes and a friend of Saban, is doing.

Sanders made a big change to his team's players in his first year as coach, using the transfer portal a lot to bring in new talent. He's doing the same thing in his second year, getting more players from the portal who can help the team right away.

As of today, December 22, Colorado's football team has the best group of players coming from the transfer portal, says 247 Sports. The Buffaloes have got 16 players from the portal, including six who are really highly rated.

But when it comes to getting new high school players, it's a different situation. After the first day of the early signing period, Colorado is ranked 99th in the country. They've only had five high school players officially agree to join, and they're still waiting for a really good offensive lineman, Jordan Seaton, to make his decision.

Saban, a West Virginia native, led his team through another challenging and competitive 2023 football season. Known for his strategic brilliance and ability to adapt, Saban continued to uphold Alabama's reputation as a powerhouse in college football. The season was marked by high expectations, as the Crimson Tide aimed to reclaim their position at the pinnacle of college football.

The 2023 season showcased Alabama's robust recruiting and player development under Saban's guidance. The team featured a mix of experienced upperclassmen and exceptionally talented freshmen, a testament to Saban's effective recruiting strategy, even amidst the evolving dynamics of the transfer portal era. The offense, led by a skilled quarterback and a dynamic set of receivers, frequently lit up the scoreboard, while the defense remained a formidable unit, stifling opponents with its physicality and tactical execution.

One of the highlights of Alabama's season was their performance in key conference matchups. These games not only tested the team's resilience and adaptability but also highlighted Saban's tactical ingenuity. The Crimson Tide's ability to perform under pressure in these high-stakes games was a clear reflection of their coach's experience and the winning culture he has instilled in the program.

However, the season was not without its challenges. Alabama faced stiff competition from rival teams, each looking to dethrone the perennial contenders. Injuries and unexpected setbacks tested the team's depth and adaptability, requiring players to step up and fill crucial roles. Through these trials, Saban's leadership and the team's collective resolve were evident, as they navigated the ups and downs of a rigorous college football season.

As the season drew to a close, the Alabama Crimson Tide, under Nick Saban's leadership, once again demonstrated why they are one of the most respected and feared programs in college football. Whether battling in conference play or on the national stage, the team's performance in the 2023 season added another chapter to the storied legacy of Alabama football and the coaching career of Nick Saban.