TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — In this new age of the transfer portal, programs are looking for players to make an immediate impact.
After a season that was highlighted by Jahmyr Gibbs leading Alabama with 1,370 total yards, Nick Saban and company was quite active in the portal bringing four transfers in the offseason. Two of which, Justin Jefferson and Trezmen Marshall, have bolstered the team’s depth at inside linebacker.
While at the bare minimum both players can serve as mentors to the younger linebackers, Saban maintained his need for portal additions that will make their impacts on the field.
“Well, you know what we’ve tried to do when it comes to the portal is look at guys that we think can make an immediate impact on our team,” Saban said. “We have always tried to build our team with good recruiting of good young players, who sort of fit the culture of what we want to do, and if we feel like we have a need at a position where we see someone who can come in and make an immediate impact.
“I think most of the players that we’ve taken from the portal, and I think there’s been six prior to this year, five of those guys all made significant impacts on the team. One guy got injured and probably didn’t have the opportunity to do it, or he probably would have made an impact as well. So we’re going to continue that same philosophy of how we bring guys into the team. We still have to manage the roster. We still have to manage numbers. And I think you always got to take that into consideration when you’re dealing with the portal as well.”
According to Chris Braswell, both linebackers are learning the playbook but Marshall has already seen plenty of opportunities in his first few months since transferring from Georgia. With Henry To’oTo’o and Jaylen Moody graduating along with Deontae Lawson suffering an injury that will keep him out this spring, Marshall is making the most of his opportunities according to Saban.
“Trez Marshall is doing a really good job,” Saban said. “He adds some maturity there. The other guys are coming along. They’re all getting better. They’re competing well. We’re moving them around. Shawn Murphy has done a pretty good job. Jihaad Campbell has done a pretty good job, and those guys are kind of rotating in and out of there. Lawson is out for the spring. He’s the one guy that has the experience that would be a good player that would add leadership to that position. This is a good thing that those guys are getting all those reps, too.”
Marshall along with the rest of the Crimson Tide will look to improve when it returns to the practice field on April 10.