Nick Saban Looking For Another QB On 2-Way Portal Highway?

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Alabama football coach Nick Saban was not asked about his rumored interest in Miami veteran quarterback Tyler Van Dyke at a press conference last week going into the Tide’s spring game Saturday.

But he wouldn’t have been able to say anything about Van Dyke by name anyway as it is against NCAA guidelines for teams to discuss players being recruited out of high school and junior college as well as via the NCAA Transfer Portal.

Nick Saban May Still Add A Quarterback

But Saban did not rule out adding another quarterback, even though he has four highly recruited players at the position, or someone at any other position, via the portal. This is because the portal runs both ways, which players need to remember.

“I think some college players sometimes think the portal is a one-way street,” Saban said when asked if he had a message to his players who may be considering the portal.

Alabama QB Jalen Milroe throws against Texas A&M last season. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

“But it’s really not, because we have an opportunity to bring guys in and replace them, too, if we choose to do that,” Saban said. “We’d rather make it work with the guys that understand the culture in our program. But that’s just another, you know, resource that you look at with players, and see if there’s any way you can help the team and strengthen your roster.”

Alabama Reportedly Was Interested In Miami QB

According to the “CaneSport” website on Thursday, Alabama showed interest in Van Dyke, who may have been unhappy with his Name, Image & Likeness account at Miami. Soon after, the Miami Hurricanes football twitter said Van Dyke was “100 percent Cane!” Perhaps with a new NIL deal. Ah, capitalism. Such a wonderful thing it can be.

Or did Alabama show interest in Van Dyke to drive up his price and make Miami spend more money on Van Dyke and maybe not another prospect? That’s capitalism, too.

Alabama Has No QB With Experience Of Miami QB

At 6-foot-4 and 220-pounds, Van Dyke will be a junior in the 2023 season after an up-and-down career so far. He completed 202 of 324 passes for 2,931 yards with 25 touchdowns and six interceptions when the Hurricanes went 7-5 in 2021. He dipped to 160-of-253 passing for 1,835 yards with 10 touchdowns and five interceptions last year and was benched as Miami fell to 5-7. The No. 7 quarterback in the country, he was the No. 222 overall prospect by 247 Sports in 2020 out of Suffield Academy in Connecticut.

Van Dyke is no superstar, but Saban adding a quarterback from the portal soon is not a reach. None of his quarterbacks have the experience of a Van Dyke. And who knows? One of his top two quarterbacks at the moment – sophomore Jalen Milroe and redshirt freshman Ty Simpson – could transfer. It will likely not be Milroe, though. He is in the lead to be the starter next season and heir apparent to next week’s projected NFL No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young. Milroe and Simpson are about even in the passing game, but Milroe is a better runner.

And Saban plans to run more this season anyway under new offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Tommy Rees, formerly of Notre Dame, behind an offensive line he really likes. Milroe completed 31 of 53 passes last year for 297 yards and five touchdowns with three interceptions as Young’s backup. He rushed 31 times for 263 yards.

Jalen Milroe Did Start A Game Last Year

Milroe started vs. Texas A&M when Young sat with a shoulder injury and played well. The No. 13 quarterback in the nation and No. 82 overall prospect out of Katy, Texas, he completed 12 of 19 passes for 111 yards and three touchdowns in a 24-20 win while rushing 17 times for 83 yards. Simpson (6-2, 203) was the No. 3 quarterback in the nation and No. 26 overall prospect in the 2022 class from Martin, Tennessee.

If Saban does lose one or the other, it’s not like he will be hurting that bad. Signed in his 2023 class were early enrollees Eli Holstein (6-4, 237) and Dylan Lonergan (6-2, 212). Holstein was the No. 8 quarterback and No. 89 prospect out of Zachary, Louisiana, and Lonergan was No. 13 and No. 159 from Snellville, Georgia. Both have gone through spring drills.

But in the age of the portal, anyone could be gone tomorrow with a new addition checking in the day before or after.

“We don’t want anybody to get into the portal,” Saban said. “We’d love to keep everybody on our team. My experience with this is a little bit like free agency in the NFL. NFL players kind of know they’re expendable.”

And so should college players. Milroe, Simpson, Holstein and Lonergan are expected to play in the spring game Saturday. Chances all four are still at Alabama a year from now are not good.

“They’ve had very, very good moments where they’ve shown some consistency and ability to make plays,” Saban said. “And there’s been obvious situations where we have work to do and things to work on. I’m confident in the guys that we have.”

For now.

Written by Glenn Guilbeau

Guilbeau joined OutKick as an SEC columnist in September of 2021 after covering LSU and the Saints for 17 years at USA TODAY Louisiana. He has been a national columnist/feature writer since the summer of 2022, covering college football, basketball and baseball with some NFL, NBA, MLB, TV and Movies and general assignment, including hot dog taste tests.

A New Orleans native and Mizzou graduate, he has consistently won Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) and Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) awards since covering Alabama and Auburn at the Mobile Press-Register (1993-98) and LSU and the Saints at the Baton Rouge Advocate (1998-2004). In 2021, Guilbeau won an FWAA 1st for a game feature, placed in APSE Beat Writing, Breaking News and Explanatory, and won Beat Writer of the Year from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA). He won an FWAA columnist 1st in 2017 and was FWAA's top overall winner in 2016 with 1st in game story, 2nd in columns, and features honorable mention.

Guilbeau completed a book in 2022 about LSU's five-time national champion coach - "Everything Matters In Baseball: The Skip Bertman Story" - that is available at, and Barnes & Noble outlets. He lives in Baton Rouge with his wife, the former Michelle Millhollon of Thibodaux who previously covered politics for the Baton Rouge Advocate and is a communications director.

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