Every recruiting season Alabama football has a numbers problem and every season Saban makes it work. Getting to the 85 roster limit is the toughest task.
Alabama football fans stay focused on the magic number for every recruiting class. Twenty-five is the base number and both the NCAA and the SEC have made oversigning more difficult. Long over are classes filled with 37 players like Houston Nutt signed several seasons ago.
Nick Saban, like most coaches, is very creative in roster management. Grayshirts are not uncommon. Even blueshirts have been used, though that option is basically no longer available. Teams can still carry over open slots from a previous class, except it cannot be because a signee failed to qualify academically.
Alabama football has three carryover slots from last season, making the magic number 28 for the 2019 class. The Grayshirt option could push one or two players forward into the 2020 class.
The more complicated number is the roster limit of 85 scholarship players. Don’t be confused if after the Early Signing Period and Signing Day in February, the Tide appears to be way over the 85 player limit. It will be and it will not matter. The final 85-player limit does not have to be reached before fall camp starts next August.
The delay is sensible. Players and coaches need time to make NFL and transfer decisions. Alabama football fans should not be concerned if it takes all spring and much of the summer to trim the roster.
Probable NFL Exits
- Quinnen Willaims – Williams is a first-round lock, probably a top-five pick. It makes no sense for Q to remain in school.
- Jonah Williams – The other Williams is probably at least a top-ten pick and should make the move.
- Deionte Thompson – A solid first round pick who is expected to also make the move to the NFL.
Possible NFL Exits
- Mack Wilson – Mack is projected late first round or second round. His recent tweets suggest he is leaning to another season with the Crimson Tide.
- Raekwon Davis – Kwon could be a late first round pick or drop lower. His NFL draft grade will be important.
- Irv Smith – Smith may be projected as a second or third round pick. In his case, the question will be can he improve his draft chances by another college season.
- Terrell Lewis – Given his injury history, Terrell will be faced with a business decision. Having missed so much college ball, he may want to return but doing so may not be worth risk of another injury.
- Anfernee Jennings – Leaving or returning for another Tide season will likely come down to his draft grade.
- Josh Jacobs – Josh will likely get a second or third round draft grade. He should have a great NFL career. He will also be faced with a business decision.
- Trevon Diggs – Trevon is in a similar situation to Terrell Lewis. Is the injury risk in another Crimson Tide season worth possibly enhancing his draft status.
The first name on the list is Jalen Hurts. After becoming a better QB, Jalen is expected to pursue a starting role for his final season of college eligibility. No Alabama football fan should begrudge Jalen such a decision. Or Jalen could surprise and stay in Tuscaloosa.
Other potential transfer possibilities are Ben Davis; Daniel Wright; Josh McMillon and Mac Jones.
There has been a recent rumor 2019 (soon-to-be) signee, Paul Tyson will not use a scholarship. Since Tyson was a recruited athlete, forgoing a scholarship will not automatically free up one for another player to use. Unless the Alabama football staff has uncovered a wrinkle in the rules, Tyson will be counted. Nick Saban’s staff is good at being creative and remaining within the rules.
Alabama football fans are encouraged to never worry about numbers. Nick Saban always finds a way to make them work.