Not even a month has passed since the NCAA's new transfer rule, which allows student-athletes in any sport to transfer one time in their careers and be immediately eligible, and the University of Alabama is already reaping the benefits.
In case you missed it, the Crimson Tide picked up a huge commitment from former Ohio State wide receiver Jameson Williams earlier this week. The St. Louis product caught 15 passes for 266 yards and three touchdowns in his two seasons with the Buckeyes.
Williams, a former high school track star, has a yards per reception average of almost 18 yards. That dynamic speed is just what coach Nick Saban and Alabama hope to take advantage of in replacing two first-round picks in Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith.
“I think speed kills on the football field and on the highway,” Saban told the media back in March when detailing the wide receiver room. “I love to have speed guys. We have some big guys, but we’ve gotta get some speed guys, too.”
Williams will have three years of remaining eligibility in Tuscaloosa, but the point is that, thanks to the NCAA's new transfer rule, the Crimson Tide added an immediate impact player, potentially a starter, it wouldn't have in the past, at the start of summer.
There would have been waivers needed and other hoops to jump through in order to get Williams on the field in a crimson jersey in 2021.
Teams like Alabama can just go grab a starter late in the offseason now and that should scare the rest of college football.
Saban was pretty blunt when asked about how the new transfer rule will directly affect the landscape of college football in April. It was even a foreshadowing of what was to come with a guy like Williams just a few short weeks later.
"We have thought about a strategy that we're going to use,” Saban said. “You've heard me speak about this before, but now that it is a rule, we're going to adapt to it and make it an advantage for us. I think what's going to happen as you see how often in a lot of leagues, you know the good players go to a good team and the bad players leave good teams because they're not playing.
“So is that going to make the rich get richer? I don't know. You can decide that, but we will only look for transfers that can really, that are going to help our team be better. I don't think we're going to have our best players on our team want to leave Alabama. I mean, we do a great job here of helping players develop be more successful in life. Lots of player development, you know, most guys that have left here, call back 100 times wanting to come back. So I don't think — because we do such a good job academically with our guys career development program, we've done a really good job and have a good track record of graduating players, developing guys play at the next level.
“So, I don't think our good players are going to be leaving. But I think we'll be able to get some good players to join us, when we have room to do that.”
He's exactly right.
Why would any player want to leave Alabama now that the school has launched "The Advantage" and the fact that a name, image and likeness bill will go effect in the state beginning in July where players can begin to make money for themselves?
Williams is the first to Tuscaloosa in this new era of transfers, that could make college football more like free agency in the NFL and NBA, and he certainly won't be the last.
Programs like Alabama, who has gone to the College Football Playoff six times in its seven-year existence, Clemson, Ohio State and Oklahoma will continue to rise to the top and get richer with the new transfer rule.
Those teams have 20 CFP appearances combined.
Tennessee linebacker Henry To'o To'o might be the hottest name currently in the transfer portal and, reportedly, what are his top choices? Ohio State and Alabama.
The Buckeyes seem the team to beat for his services at the moment given the intraconference transfer rule in the SEC, which will be voted on in June.
Regardless, disgruntled players across the country want to win and they want to do it now so why not join the programs that already have proven success over the last decade?
The transfer rule is also an indictment on any playoff-expansion talk but that's a different conversation for a different day.
Not even a month has passed since the NCAA's new transfer rule, which allows student-athletes in any sport to transfer one time in their careers and be immediately eligible, and the University of Alabama is already reaping the benefits. Subscribe for full article
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