West Alabama? Texas uses the transfer portal to add three Crimson Tide players.
Following the abrupt announcement of Nick Saban’s retirement earlier this month, Texas capitalized on the significant upheaval in Tuscaloosa.

Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian is rebuilding his team while the collegiate football community copes with the cascading effects of Nick Saban’s unexpected resignation.

Three of the eight incoming transfers to the Longhorns are former Alabama players: linebacker Kendrick Blackshire, tight end Amari Niblack, and wide receiver Isaiah Bond.

As Alabama’s second and third-ranked receivers in 2023, Bond and Niblack ought to be able to help close whatever deficits the Longhorns leave before they enter the NFL draft. At the conclusion of the Longhorns’ season, all five of Texas’ best receivers from the 2023 campaign decided to become professionals.

Bond, who became well-known across the country after his touchdown reception on fourth-and-31 in the Iron Bowl the previous season, described his move to Texas as a “business decision.”

According to Bond, “it was really a business decision,” Pete Thamel of ESPN reported. “Hatred has no place in my heart. Nothing private. I will make the finest decisions for my family and myself.”

Additionally, Bond told ESPN that Saban’s retirement was the sole factor in his decision to transfer.

“Without a doubt,” he replied. “That was the decision why I left.”

According to 247Sports, Texas first targeted the five-star wide receiver out of high school (Buford, Georgia) and made him an offer in April 2021. In the summer of 2021, Bond also made an official trip to Texas before deciding to choose Alabama over Georgia and Florida

The 6-foot-4 Florida tight end Niblack had a breakthrough 2023 season as a sophomore for the Crimson Tide. Having only one reception in 2022, he made 20 catches for 327 yards and four touchdowns this season. In September, Niblack also scored a touchdown in a game against Texas. Interestingly, Texas running back Keilan Robinson—a previous transfer from Alabama himself—was heard yelling at Alabama prospects, “All y’all come to Texas!” during that same game. The arrival of Niblack adds depth to a tight end group that saw All-Big 12 First Team selection Ja’Tavion Sanders selected in the NFL draft.

With Blackshire, Texas increased the linebacker position’s security on defense. In 2018, Texas made the Duncanville product available during the Tom Herman administration. Across six games during his final season with the Crimson Tide, Blackshire recorded nine solo tackles and one forced fumble. In the 2021 and 2022 seasons, he mostly worked with special teams. The Longhorns lost Butkus Award semifinalist Jaylan Ford to the NFL draft, but they still have veteran David Gbenda in his sixth year and rookie sensation Anthony Hill.

The Longhorns are still using the gateway, despite the fact that the spring semester has already begun. While most student athletes’ transfer portals are locked during this time of year, players impacted by a change in head coaching have an extra 30 days to access the portal. Tiaoalii Savea, a former defensive lineman for Arizona, has recently joined Texas’ portal. Only a few days after former Arizona head coach Jedd Fisch obtained the same post at Washington, the Las Vegas native declared his intention to transfer out of Arizona. Exactly one week after spring semester started, on January 23, Texas made Savea’s official announcement.

On December’s national signing day, Sarkisian stated, “We’re trying to fill immediate needs when we go into the portal.” “How do those necessities arise? Many different causes, yes? It might be a wound. It can be guys quitting the program or our own attrition from the portal.Simply said, I disagree with the saying that you should make a career out of the portal by signing 10, 12, or 15 individuals year and attempting to replicate your culture every year.

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