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Nick Saban discusses why he respects Alabama players that did not hit the portal

Dec 31, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban smiles while on the trophy podium after a victory against the Cincinnati Bearcats during the 2021 Cotton Bowl college football CFP national semifinal game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Matthew Emmons - USA Today Sports

Alabama had several scholarship athletes enter the NCAA transfer portal between November and December.

Many names — including Traeshon Holden, Khyree Jackson, Javion Cohen, Tanner Bowles, Christian Leary, JoJo Earle, and Aaron Anderson — have found a new home. The Crimson Tide is preparing to face Kansas State in the Allstate Sugar Bowl at Caesars Superdome (New Orleans, La.) on New Year’s Eve at 11:00 a.m. CT. After having its first practice last week, Coach Nick Saban discussed why he respects the players that chose to remain in Tuscaloosa — regardless of the transfer portal culture.

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“It is what it is,” Saban said about the Tide players that entered the transfer portal.

“I have no control over it. I have a lot of respect for the guys that want to be at Alabama, want to play for Alabama, want to compete at Alabama, want to be a part of the team, and have respect for their teammates to help the team.”

Saban knows the portal is part of college football, but he enjoys seeing the old-school mindset of competing to the end.

“People have the choice to choose whatever they want to do,” he said. “My choice is to coach the guys we have here that want to play for us.”

Saban will have his group ready to go against the Wildcats, including some young faces. 

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith. 

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