Connect with us

Alabama Football Headlines

A breakdown of Alabama’s transfers and how they fit in best on this Crimson Tide team

Miami (Ohio) kicker Graham Nicholson (#98) attempts a field goal in the 2023 season.
Nathan Ray Seebeck - USA Today Sports

Alabama football lost players to the NCAA transfer portal, but it also pulled talent out the portal.

Nick Saban pulled Domani Jackson (cornerback) and LT Overton (defensive lineman) from the portal before he retired.

RELATED: 3 position groups for Alabama football with the most to prove in the fall

Kalen DeBoer, Alabama’s new head coach, acquired several names from the portal for the Crimson Tide. Alabama’s had a lot of success with transfers — including Jameson Williams, Jahmyr Gibbs, Henry To’oto’o, Jermaine Burton, Trezmen Marshall, and Jaylen Key. Before the portal, the Tide brought in Richard Mullaney, Jacob Coker, Gehrig Dieter, and Landon Dickerson. 

The duo of Coker and Mullaney helped Alabama to a College Football Playoff National Championship in 2015.

Dieter assisted the program to a Southeastern Conference Championship in 2016 while Dickerson became the leader on the offensive line at center in 2020 for a Joe Moore Award and a CFP National Championship. Alabama fans are interested in seeing what this edition of transfers do. A breakdown of each one is below on how they fit best with the team for the upcoming season.

Austin Mack 

-Position: Quarterback

-Classification: Freshman 

-Height/Weight: 6-6/226

-Previous School: Washington

-2023 stats: No stats

How he fits Alabama’s offense

Austin Mack would have taken over as Washington’s starting quarterback at 17 years old if an injury happened to Michael Penix last season.

Mack is immensely talented, but he is still a little raw. He showed in spring practice for Alabama that he can make off-platform throws and be accurate with them. Mack will gain reps throughout the season in some games, but this season is not his time.

He will learn from Jalen Milroe and Ty Simpson.

Germie Bernard

-Position: Wide Receiver

-Classification: Junior

-Height/Weight: 6-1/203 

-Previous School: Washington

-2023 stats: 34 catches, 419 yards, two touchdowns

How he fits Alabama’s offense

Germie Bernard will start in Alabama’s wide receiver rotation.

He has experience at Washington and Michigan State in the slot and on the outside.

Bernard helped the Huskies to a Pac-12 Championship and advance to the College Football Playoff National Championship Game in 2023 with one of the nation’s most explosive offenses. He is a very good blocker and brings a veteran’s mentality to the Tide.

Bernard totaled three catches for 122 yards in the spring game and helped receivers learn DeBoer’s system.

Josh Cuevas

-Position: Tight End

-Classification: RS Junior

-Height/Weight: 6-3/239

-Previous School: Washington

-2023 stats: 4 catches, 164 yards, one touchdown

How he fits Alabama’s offense

Josh Cuevas will compete for playing time at tight end, but his action may come first on special teams.

Alabama is loaded at tight end with CJ Dippre, Danny Lewis Jr., and Robbie Ouzts already having experience.

Parker Brailsford

-Position: Offensive Lineman (Center)

-Classification: RS Sophomore

-Height/Weight: 6-2/275

-Previous School: Washington

-2023 stats: 15 starts, including 13 at center for the Huskies

How he fits Alabama’s offense

Parker Brailsford did not participate much in spring practice, but he was brought in to be the starting center.

The departures of Seth McLaughlin (Ohio State) and James Brockermeyer (TCU) to other school opened an opportunity for Brailsford to come in and start for the Crimson Tide on its offensive line. He helped the Huskies to the Joe Moore Award last season, so his athleticism and toughness should propel Alabama’s offensive front to be much better in the coming fall.

Kadyn Proctor

-Position: Offensive Lineman (Center)

-Classification: Sophomore

-Height/Weight: 6-7/360

-Previous School: Iowa briefly, but came back to Alabama

-2023 stats: 14 starts all at left tackle for the Crimson Tide

How he fits Alabama’s offense

Kadyn Proctor’s offseason decision to leave Alabama after his freshman campaign can be summed up as sometimes returning home is not what one needs to do.

The Iowa native left the Crimson Tide for his hometown Hawkeyes in the NCAA transfer portal after Nick Saban announced his retirement. After a brief stay at Iowa, the former five-star returned to the University of Alabama under Kalen DeBoer.

He earned All-SEC Freshman Team honors for his excellence at left tackle in 2023, so his return puts Proctor in position to have his starting spot back on the offensive line. Proctor has worked this offseason to trim weight, establish his base and footwork in pass protection, and strengthen his run-blocking. He has potential to be special and Proctor’s athleticism makes the Tide better.

Geno VanDeMark

-Position: Offensive Lineman

-Classification: RS Junior 

-Height/Weight: 6-5/320

-Previous School: Michigan State

-2023 stats: 8 games, including six starts at right guard

How he fits Alabama’s offense

Geno VanDeMark is back with the coach that started his development at Michigan State.

Chris Kapilovic, the Spartans offensive line coach from 2020 to 2023, now has a chance to prepare VanDeMark to be successful in the Southeastern Conference at Alabama. He possesses the size of an offensive guard, but VanDeMark could give the Tide versatility at center if needed. VanDeMark will compete to be in the rotation at guard and center for Alabama as a backup.

Naquil Betrand

-Position: Offensive Lineman

-Classification: RS Freshman

-Height/Weight: 6-6/340

-Previous School: Texas A&M

-2023 stats: No stats

How he fits Alabama’s offense

Naquil Betrand was not developed at Texas A&M under Jimbo Fisher.

He is now at Alabama where he can be trained under Chris Kapilovic on Kalen DeBoer’s staff. Betrand has the make up for an imposing offensive tackle in college football. He could be the backup left tackle behind Proctor or he will compete with Elijah Pritchett, Wilkin Formby, Miles McVay, and Geno VanDeMark for an opportunity to start at right tackle.

At the worst, Betrand will be a valuable backup.

LT Overton

-Position: Defensive Lineman (DE)

-Classification: Junior

-Height/Weight: 6-5/265

-Previous School: Texas A&M

-2023 stats: Played in 12 games, totaled 17 tackles and three quarterback hurries

How he fits Alabama’s defense

LT Overton was one of the top prospects that came in Texas A&M’s No. 1 recruiting class in 2022.

He became one of several players from the class to leave Jimbo Fisher for another program.

Overton has a chance to feast in Kane Wommack’s 4-2-5 system as a defensive end. He has the pass-rush moves, edge-bending abilities, and mindset to command a double-team needed to be a starter up front. Overton should start at one end spot opposite Keon Keeley, Tim Smith, or James Smith, depending on who wins the other defensive end spot.

At worst, Overton would be first off the bench in the rotation.

Domani Jackson

-Position: Cornerback

-Classification: Junior

-Height/Weight: 6-1/190

-Previous School: University of Southern California (USC)

-2023 stats: 11 games, totaled 33 tackles and three pass breakups

How he fits Alabama’s defense

Domani Jackson did not get the proper coaching he needed at USC to develop as a cornerback.

He will get that coaching from Maurice Linguist (cornerbacks coach) and Kane Wommack (defensive coordinator) at the University of Alabama. The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder is an instinctive athlete from California and former marquee prospect in the 2022 signing class from Mater Dei High School. Jackson enrolled early for spring practice and is already into the culture.

His size, length, athleticism, ball skill, and wanting the grind of the Crimson Tide makes him a starter.

He should start at one of two cornerback positions, regardless of having Jahlil Hurley, DaShawn Jones (transfer from Wake Forest), and a host of talent freshmen competing with him. 

Keon Sabb

-Position: Safety

-Classification: RS Sophomore 

-Height/Weight: 6-1/200

-Previous School: Michigan

-2023 stats: 14 games, totaled 28 tackles, five pass breakups, two interceptions, and a pick-six

How he fits Alabama’s defense

Keon Sabb brings national championship experience to Alabama’s secondary from Michigan.

The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder produced in 2023 with 28 tackles, five pass breakups, two interceptions, and a pick-six for the Wolverines. He assisted Michigan to a Big Ten Championship and a College Football Playoff national title victory over Washington to finish the 2023 season. Sabb played well across from Malachi Moore in Alabama’s spring practice.

He will start at free safety, opposing Moore, in the Crimson Tide’s defense.

DaShawn Jones

-Position: Cornerback

-Classification: RS Junior

-Height/Weight: 6-0/181

-Previous School: Wake Forest

-2023 stats: 10 games, totaled 37 tackles, two pass breakups, three interceptions

How he fits Alabama’s defense

DaShawn Jones’ experience at Wake Forest puts him in prime position to compete for a starting job at Alabama.

He totaled 60 tackles, seven pass breakups, and three interceptions in two seasons, including 37 tackles, two breakups, and three picks in the 2023 campaign. Jones’ physicality, toughness, ball skills, and tackling prowess makes him very intriguing as a cornerback for the Crimson Tide. He will push Domani Jackson and Jahlil Hurley for a starting opportunity. 

His experience makes potentially makes him a starter with Jackson, especially with Jones have more game action than any other cornerback on Alabama’s roster.

King Mack 

-Position: Safety

-Classification: Sophomore

-Height/Weight: 5-10/188

-Previous School: Penn State

-2023 stats: 13 games, totaled three tackles, one quarterback hurry

How he fits Alabama’s defense

King Mack has a very good upside coming from St. Thomas Aquinas High School (Miami, Fla.), but the former Penn State player is still young. 

He was primarily used on special teams in 2023 as a freshman. He will compete for an opportunity on special teams, but his chance in the secondary will come at a later time. Mack will learn from Malachi Moore, Keon Sabb, and DeVonta Smith, which is a great tool for him. 

Kameron Howard 

-Position: Defensive Back 

-Classification: Sophomore 

-Height/Weight: 5-11/189

-Previous School: UNC Charlotte 

-2023 stats: 12 games — including two starts — totaled 38 tackles, one pass breakup, two interceptions

How he fits Alabama’s defense

Kameron Howard could develop into a nice safety at Alabama.

He will not play much this season, but next year would be his time to shine. Howard, like King Mack, will learn from Malachi Moore and others before he takes over on the field. He will find a role on special teams, though.

Graham Nicholson

-Position: Kicker

-Classification: Junior

-Height/Weight: 6-0/185

-Previous School: University of Miami at Ohio

-2023 stats: Made 27 of 28 field goals, made 35 of 37 PATs, won the Lou Groza Award

How he fits Alabama’s special teams

Kalen DeBoer made the right move in the transfer portal to get a kicker for Alabama.

Graham Nicholson won the Lou Groza Award in 2023 at Miami (Ohio) for nation’s top kicker. Will Reichard’s departure to the National Football League had Tide fans concerned about who would be the next kicker. Nicholson silences those worries with his success last season. He will be the starting kicker for the Tide in the coming fall.

*Get the BEST Alabama football insider information, message board access, and recruiting coverage today! SIGN UP HERE to unlock our subscriber-only content!*

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

Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 10+ years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

More in Alabama Football Headlines