More and more college football players have been deciding to roll with it to the NFL or to the NCAA transfer portal, even if it means leaving the ultimate brand name in the game — Alabama.
On Monday, junior starting inside linebacker Christian Harris became the Crimson Tide’s sixth underclassman to declare for the April 28-30 NFL Draft. The deadline to do so was Monday.
Harris, who was fifth on the team in tackles with 79 and second in stops behind the line with 12.5, had three sacks and a forced fumble in the Tide’s 33-18 loss to Georgia in the national championship game last Monday. He is projected to be a late second round pick.
“I know I am ready to accomplish my next goal,” Harris wrote on Instagram.
Junior starting cornerback Jalyn Armour-Davis declared for the NFL Draft last week and is projected to be a second or third round pick at the moment.
Other Alabama juniors leaving for the NFL are offensive tackle Evan Neal and wide receivers Jameson Williams, John Metchie III and Slade Bolden. Neal is projected to be a high first round pick. Williams may still go in the first round, despite tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in the national championship game, and Metchie could be a late first round or second round pick after also suffering a torn ACL knee injury late last season. Bolden is expected to be a middle or late round pick.
Entering the draft early is nothing new, but Alabama continues to lose depth to the NCAA transfer portal. Several of the following backups likely could have worked their way into Alabama’s starting lineup in the coming seasons, but they opted to leave:
Sophomore outside linebacker Drew Sanders, who started three times in the 2021 season after Christopher Allen’s injury in the season opener, has transferred to Arkansas. He entered the portal the day after the national title game. Sanders had 24 tackles, including 2.5 for a loss, in 12 games. He lost his starting job to freshman Dallas Turner after he was sidelined with a hand injury.
Backup inside linebackers Jaylen Moody and Shane Lee also entered the transfer portal last week. Other backups who have entered the portal but have not yet landed are junior offensive tackle Tommy Brown and sophomore wide receiver Javon Baker. Players who enter the transfer portal but do not transfer can return to their previous school.
Other Alabama backups who have entered the portal and transferred are junior tight end Jahleel Billingsley to Texas, junior cornerback Marcus Banks to Mississippi State, sophomore offensive tackle Pierce Quick to Georgia Tech, sophomore quarterback Paul Tyson to Arizona State, junior wide receiver Xavier Williams to Utah State, sophomore linebacker Jackson Bratton to Alabama-Birmingham and junior linebacker King Mwikuta to Arkansas State,
Alabama has added two starters from the transfer portal — sophomore cornerback Eli Ricks from LSU and Georgia Tech sophomore tailback Jahmyr Gibbs, who gained 746 yards on 143 carries last season and caught 35 passes for 465 yards.