Tide Takes: DeBoer Hired, Now What?

Every Monday right here you can read Tide Takes, where we’ll get into a different topic on the Crimson Tide, break down the previous game, preview the upcoming game, and everything in between.

In this week’s edition, after the craziest week in a very long time for Alabama fans where minutes felt like hours and days felt like an eternity, Kalen DeBoer has officially been hired and introduced as the 28th head coach in Crimson Tide history. So what now?

In today’s day and age of college football, the transfer portal is rampant, and Crimson Tide players due to new NCAA rules have 30 days to enter a second portal window after a coach resigns or is fired. DeBoer addressed the threat of other teams coming for his new players, saying that first and foremost he and his new staff need to recruit his own roster:

Thus far, as we stand around 11:00 A.M. on Monday morning, five players have entered the portal thus far, two of them leading receivers from last year’s team. Wide receiver Isaiah Bond has committed to Texas while tight end Amari Niblack put his name in the portal yesterday. Antonio Kite, Dezz Ricks and Shawn Murphy are also in the portal.

Rumors have surrounded star freshman safety Caleb Downs especially after the departure of defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson to Georgia, but thus far Downs has not entered his name.

DeBoer is bringing a large portion of his offensive staff from Washington including offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb, wide receivers coach JaMarcus Shephard, and recruiting specialist Courtney Morgan.

The defensive staff, however, is largely unbuilt other than the returning Freddie Roach (defensive line).

In terms of what DeBoer must do next, hiring a defensive coordinator with SEC ties who can help to retain some of the defensive talent on the roster throughout the extra portal window would be a big start.

From a high school standpoint, the Crimson Tide almost immediately after Saban’s retirement lost out on the commitment of Saraland 5-star receiver Ryan Williams, who is one of the most sought after players in the entire nation and due to sign on February 9th.

Alabama will now have to battle with Auburn, Texas, Texas A&M, and LSU over the next couple of weeks for Williams’ pledge before signing. In terms of an early display of showing he can recruit in this region, landing Williams after his decommitment would go a long way for DeBoer.

He and his staff must put the full court press on Williams in the last few weeks of his recruitment.

Replacing Nick Saban was never going to be easy, but DeBoer is only just beginning to find out just how challenging this is going to be.