Alabama mass exodus continues as star safety Caleb Downs enters transfer portal after Nick Saban retires
Alabama isnt as attractive without Nick Saban on the sidelines.
Freshman safety Caleb Downs and freshman tackle Kadyn Proctor became the latest talents to enter the transfer portal on Wednesday, according to ESPN.
Downs, the younger brother of Colts receiver Josh Downs and former Giants running back Gary Downs, is the 22nd Alabama player to enter the transfer portal since Nick Saban retired last week, per Yahoo.
The second-team All-American is the best player Alabama has lost this offseason, with ESPN describing him as “one of the most talented and coveted players to enter the transfer portal this season.”
Proctor, who is 6-foot-7 and 360 pounds, started as a true freshman at left tackle.
While Alabama is still one of the premier college football programs, it’s not shocking that players are looking elsewhere with Saban gone.
3Caleb Downs celebrates during the Rose Bowl. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters ConSome players commit to programs specifically for a coach like Saban, and Downs may feel no connection to new Alabama coach Kalen DeBoer.
NIL money can also be a factor.
Since losing the Rose Bowl, Alabama as seen:Nick Saban retire21 players enter the transfer portal (including stars Isaiah Bond, Caleb Downs, et al)6 recruits from the Class of 2024/25 decommit.Tough stretch for the Tide. Welcome to the real world.
— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) January 17, 2024While not all of the other 20 players are stars, losing Downs and Proctor on the same day is a tough blow for Alabama.
Downs became the first Alabama freshman to lead the team in tackles dating to 1970 and earned SEC Newcomer of the Year and first-team All-SEC honors, according to Alabama.
Downs and Proctor figure to be top targets for virtually every contender.
3Nick Saban (l) and Caleb Downs (r). Getty ImagesThe safety was ESPN’s No. 11 recruit in the 2023 class and a five-star recruit, and his ESPN recruiting page lists visits with Georgia, Notre Dame and Ohio State.
Texas already benefitted from Alabama sophomore receiver Isaiah Bond entering the transfer portal.
The Crimson Tide are not only losing players from their current roster, but Yahoo reported they have already had six players in the 2024 and 2025 recruiting classes decommit.
3Kadyn Proctor (left) is also entering the transfer portal. APThe talent loss will make the job that much harder for DeBoer while he attempts to replace Saban after a successful run with Washington.
Alabama still has the fourth-best odds (+1000) to win the national title at FanDuel, trailing Georgia (+300), Ohio State (+550) and Texas (+750).
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