Updated with new numbers.
Here is what appears to be the final shake down on Alabama's post NSD attrition this year. Much like last year, Alabama is one of the few teams in the country to lose double-digit players post NSD. Quick, name another school that has lost 21 scholarships players between NSD and August over the last 2 years. That's an entire recruiting class. And 6 of those 21 were medical hardships. Here is the attrition for Alabama between National Signing Day and the August deadline to get to 85 players for the last two years. Any way you slice it that is a lot of attrition. For comparison's sake, Penn State has had 2 players leave their program over the last two years during this period of time.
2011 The March to 85 - Alabama
|Player||Position||Reason for leaving after NSD|
|Glenn Harbin||Defensive Line||Decided to play baseball; Link|
|Demetrius Goode||Running Back||Transfer to North Alabama; Link|
|Petey Smith||Linebacker||Transfer to Holems CC; Link|
|Brandon Moore||Defensive Lineman||Transfer to East Mississippi Community College; Link|
|Corey Grant||Running Back||Transfer to Auburn; Link|
|Keiwone Malone||Wide Receiver||Transfer to Memphis; Link|
|Robby Green||Defensive Back||Transfer to California University of Pennsylvania ; Link|
|Darrington Sentimore||Defensive Lineman||Transfer to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Link|
|Arron Douglas||Offensive Lineman||Died during offseason; RIP, hate having to list him here.|
|Kerry Murphy||Defensive Line||Medical Hardship|
|Kendall Kelly||Defensive Back||Medical Hardship|
|Wes Neighbors||Defensive Back||Medical Hardship|
2010 The March to 85 - Alabama
|Player||Position||Reason for leaving after NSD|
|Terry Grant||Running Back||Scholarship not renewed|
|Travis Sikes||Wide Receiver||Scholarship not renewed|
|Rod Woodson||Safety||Scholarship not renewed|
|Star Jackson||Quarterback||Transfer, Georgia State Div 1AA.|
|Deion Belue||Defensive Back||Academically Ineligible; headed to JUCO|
|Alfy Hill||Linebacker||Academically Ineligible; future unknown|
|Taylor Pharr||Offensive Lineman||Medical Hardship|
|Milton Talbert||Linebacker||Medical Hardship|
|Darius McKeller||Offensive Lineman||Medical Hardship|
|Ronnie Carswell||Wide Receiver||Greyshirt|
|Wilson Love||Defensive End||Greyshirt|
*Wilson and Love are still with the team, they grayshirted. They left for 1 year but returned the following.
So does this end the 2011 March to 85? Right now it looks like 10 scholarship players are gone since NSD with 2 more suspended indefinitely waiting to be "processed." Regardless, despite Alabama not releasing official scholarships numbers, we are able to piece together a few bits of information that make the numbers a little clearer:
1. The number of players signed this year 22 + 2 grayshirt commitments from last year = 24
2. The number of players that left last year (3 JR to NFL + 8 SR to Graduation + 1 Pre-NSD Transfer) = 12
3. The number of scholarship players that have left since NSD (see above) = 12
When you add the number of players that have left since NSD to the number of players that left last year due to going to the NFL early or exhausting their eligibility you get 24. That's pretty damn close to exactly the 24 they signed.
Saban did mention that that Alabama was not at a full 85 last year, which we still have a hard time understanding because 2 guys grayshirted because their wasn't enough room. Regardless, let's say there was still room for 1 or 2 under the 85 limit last year.
There are only two possible explanations for the numbers:
1. Saban did not oversign: because when he signed 24 it took him to 85 (which if you remember on NSD when Saban told the media they signed what they had room for) and the 10 departures since NSD have created 10 openings, which have not been filled by walk-ons, and Alabama will go into the season with 73 scholarship players.
2. Saban did oversign: because with only 12 departing players on NSD and only a couple of open scholarships from last year there is no way he had room for 24 guys and it took X number of the 10 players leaving since NSD in order for him to get back down to 85. If Saban did oversign, then this is a prime example of how the new "roster management rules" for oversigning in the SEC are ineffective. Even with signing 24, which is 1 under the 25 enrollment limit, it is very possible that Alabama oversigned -- the only way they didn't is if they played last year with 73 scholarship players, which would mean the 12 under 85 from last year + the departure of 12 to the NFL and graduation would then justify the 24 they signed to get to 85. Then in which case, with the 12 departures since NSD, Alabama would be at 73 going into this season. Which in turn raises the question as to why 3 guys are being moved to medical hardship scholarships when there could be football scholarships that are left unused -- don't those guys deserve better for their sacrifice, especially when the room is there?
In summary, we might not have Saban's scholarship numbers, but we feel pretty confident that we have his number down pat by now. This is the second year that we have been able to forecast the amount of attrition to take place after NSD almost to the exact number. Last year we nailed it on the number, this year we said 11 and there has been 12 thus far. Not too shabby considering we don't have his numbers.
The only person that can clear this up is Nick Saban and he has the perfect opportunity to do it tomorrow at SEC Media Days. All he has to do is come clean on his scholarship numbers.