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Alabama Adds Three Key Players from the NCAA Transfer Portal

The Alabama Crimson Tide recently added three players from the NCAA Transfer Portal that could be starters now or in the future.

Many critics and die-hard Alabama fans claimed that the Alabama Crimson Tide’s touch in the NCAA Transfer Portal is gone. Earlier in May, first-year head coach Kalen DeBoer listened hard and answered back in a big way. Starting on Thursday, May 16th through Saturday, May 18th, Alabama got three commitments via the Transfer Portal. Not only are these players capable of playing, they are legitimate starters. These three can plug up holes in position groups that were the biggest concern for the Tide in the offseason. Each player has a great skill level and attributes that will help Alabama this upcoming 2024 college season.

Two Adds on the Defense

Although the Crimson Tide added a legitimate starter at cornerback via Transfer Portal in Domani Jackson, that doesn’t mean there can’t be a second. DaShawn Jones was a two-year starter for the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, who plays more physically than most man-coverage corners. While he isn’t the fastest and most explosive coverage corner, he possesses great recognition when reading the quarterback’s eyes, the ball, and the receiver’s routes. Jones can read one-on-one matchups very well against pass-catchers of different attributes. While he isn’t quick or explosive, he packs a punch and possesses great physicality.

This past season, Jones accumulated 37 total tackles, three interceptions, two tackles for loss, and two pass deflections. His three interceptions were the sixth-highest in the ACC. He also accounted for five pass breakups in 2022; his first season as a full-time starter.

A Safety from the Big Ten

Among the transfers with the least amount of experience but with tremendous upside is King Mack. He played five games in his true freshman season with the Penn State Nittany Lions last season, all on special teams. What King lacks in size and hop, he makes up for with tremendous athleticism and playmaking skills. His athleticism and knowledge enable him to read the ball and the receiver’s routes and make a player towards the incompletion/interception. King hits hard and plays with determination for a player of his size. He sacrifices his body to create hits on the opposing player. 

Andrew Ivins of 247Sports gave King great player complements and highlighted great attributes. Ivins highlighted his speed, instincts, ball skills, physicality, and leadership. A player that King has been compared to Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker from every angle Ivins mentioned. 

King is a player who is likely not ready to take a significant amount of reps for the Tide’s defense. He is going to be a project for DeBoer. Defensive coordinator Kane Womack will need to work with him. Once King is ready, he could be a special player, on the field and in the locker room like Baker for the Cardinals.

Offensive Line Help

The offensive line was the biggest problem for the Tide this past season, so it wasn’t a surprise that the position group would need to be seriously addressed. The Tide did add a new star center and got back their left tackle Kadyn Proctor, they also added a potential new starter in the interior. The latest addition to the Tide for the upcoming season is rising redshirt junior guard Geno VanDeMark. In his last two seasons with the Spartans, VanDeMark played 18 games while starting in eight. Six of those starts were from the 2023 season. This past season was his best-performing year but he couldn’t stay healthy with the numerous injuries that derailed his progress. 

He is hoping to get a fresh start with a new team under a familiar offensive line coach. VanDeMark joins his former offensive line coach Chris Kapilovic, who had been the offensive line coach/run game coordinator for the past four seasons with the Spartans. Kapilovic knows how to get the best from his players including VanDeMark, who was in and out of the starting lineup with different injuries. 

VanDeMark plays stout at the line of scrimmage. He is tough to beat when faced one-on-one. When he gets to his assigned defender in run blocks, they are locked down until the play is over. He adds violence to his pass-blocking as well. If he can get some lateral quickness and get faster overall, he can be an elite offensive lineman for the Tide.



The Alabama Crimson Tide recently added three players from the NCAA Transfer Portal that could be starters now or in the future.
Photo courtesy: Gary Cosby Jr.-Tuscaloosa News / USA TODAY NETWORK


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