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Do Alabama football transfers star at their next stop? Not often

Florida and Florida State hope their hit rates in Tide transfers are better than the historical norm.
 
The Florida Gators' Damieon George started 11 games last season after transferring from Alabama.
The Florida Gators' Damieon George started 11 games last season after transferring from Alabama. [ JEFF ROBERSON | AP (2023) ]
Published Jan. 24

Florida State and the Florida Gators have collectively nabbed a half-dozen Alabama transfers in the ongoing exodus since Nick Saban’s retirement.

Both programs should hope this cycle pans out better than previous ones; the hit rate on transfers from Alabama is lower than you might expect.

We examined the four previous transfer cycles (weeding out as many walk-ons as we could) to see how players did after leaving the Crimson Tide. Of the 58 players who transferred from ’Bama to another Football Bowl Subdivision school:

• 12 became major players at their next stop

• 15 others became at least part-time starters

• 22 flamed out with little, if any significant impact.

Miami went 1 for 3 last cycle. Javion Cohen was one of the ACC’s best guards, but receiver Tyler Harrell had four catches in eight games and defensive lineman Jamil Burroughs didn’t play at all.

This rush’s inciting factor — the retirement of the greatest coach ever — adds a new variable to this class for transfers like Tampa Catholic’s Jameer Grimsley (who committed to UF over the weekend). Regardless, here’s a look at some of the previous hits, misses and in-betweens:

Running back Jerome Ford, Cincinnati

Jerome Ford signed with Alabama out of Armwood High but became a big-time player at Cincinnati.
Jerome Ford signed with Alabama out of Armwood High but became a big-time player at Cincinnati. [ ZACK WITTMAN | Times (2018) ]

The Armwood High alumnus rushed for more than 1,200 yards and earned first-team all-AAC honors while helping the Bearcats break the Group of Five glass ceiling in the College Football Playoff. The 2022 fifth-round pick led the Browns with 813 rushing yards this season.

Offensive lineman Damieon George, Florida

The 6-foot-6, 350-pound George started 11 games in his first season with the Gators. His performance was mixed on a unit that failed to live up to expectations.

Safety Jahquez Robinson, Colorado

The former blue-chip national recruit from Jacksonville was part of Deion Sanders’ talent infusion last offseason. He recorded only nine tackles in seven games (two starts) and re-entered the portal this month.

Wide receiver Agiye Hall, Texas

Bloomingdale High alumnus Agiye Hall played some at Alabama but got into trouble when he left for Texas.
Bloomingdale High alumnus Agiye Hall played some at Alabama but got into trouble when he left for Texas. [ PAUL SANCYA | AP (2022) ]

The former top-50 national recruit out of Valrico’s Bloomingdale High didn’t make the most of his fresh start with the Longhorns. He was arrested and suspended before the 2022 season on a complaint that he damaged the parking boot on his Dodge Charger. Hall re-entered the portal last offseason.

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Quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa, Maryland

Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa (3) left Alabama and the shadow of his older brother.
Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa (3) left Alabama and the shadow of his older brother. [ NICK WASS | AP (2023) ]

He backed up older brother Tua and Mac Jones in 2019 before becoming the Big Ten’s all-time leading passer (11,256 yards) and breaking at least 10 major Terrapins records, too.

Quarterback Paul Tyson, Arizona State

The grandson of Alabama legend Bear Bryant was a backup with the Tide, then backed up Emory Jones at Arizona State. He transferred to Clemson after his lone season with the Sun Devils and appeared in two games off the bench.

Wide receiver Javon Baker, UCF

UCF's Javon Baker led the Big 12 in receiving yards last season.
UCF's Javon Baker led the Big 12 in receiving yards last season. [ NATE BILLINGS | AP (2023) ]

After catching only nine passes with the Tide, Baker had 108 over two seasons with the Knights. His 1,139 yards last season led the Big 12.

Tight end Elijah Brown, Florida Atlantic

The former top-300 national recruit didn’t play for the Tide in 2022 and appeared in only two games for the Owls last season.

Linebacker Drew Sanders, Arkansas

Drew Sanders was an All-American linebacker for Arkansas.
Drew Sanders was an All-American linebacker for Arkansas. [ MICHAEL WOODS | AP (2022) ]

An occasional starter at Alabama, Sanders became the Razorbacks’ first All-American linebacker in almost 60 years. He had 103 tackles in 2022 and was a Broncos rookie this season.

Running back Trey Sanders, TCU

He was the Horned Frogs’ No. 3 rusher (176 yards) and rushed for six touchdowns this season — a fine impact but not what you’d expect from a former top-10 national recruit.

Edge rusher Ben Davis, Texas

Another former top-10 national recruit, Davis won two titles with the Tide before transferring to Texas a super senior in 2011. He had 16 tackles over 11 games.

Tight end Jahleel Billingsley, Texas

One of Jahleel Billingsley's six touchdown catches came against the Gators.
One of Jahleel Billingsley's six touchdown catches came against the Gators. [ JOHN RAOUX | AP (2021) ]

He caught six touchdown passes over 36 games at ’Bama but didn’t make an impact in his lone season with the Longhorns. He had only three catches in four games.

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