Top quarterback recruit Julian Sayin has entered the NCAA transfer portal after enrolling early at Alabama, according to multiple reports on January 19th. The former 5-star prospect’s decision comes just weeks after legendary Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban announced his retirement.
Sayin Was Expected to Compete for Starting QB Job
The 6’1″, 185 pound Sayin was rated as the #1 pro-style QB and #3 overall prospect in the 2024 recruiting class per 247Sports Composite rankings. He had committed to Alabama over offers from top programs like Ohio State, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, and Texas A&M.
Sayin enrolled early at Alabama this January with the expectation of competing with 2023 signees Eli Holstein and Dylan Lonergan for the starting quarterback job this fall. Incumbent starter Jalen Milroe had entered the transfer portal earlier this offseason.
With Saban stepping down though, Sayin has now become the 5th Alabama player to enter the portal just this month. The Carlsbad, CA native’s decision to transfer caps off a nightmare scenario for the Crimson Tide after their legendary coach’s retirement.
What’s Next for Sayin and Alabama
The Athletic reports that Sayin chose Alabama because he wanted to play for Saban specifically, not necessarily the program itself. With the coaching uncertainty now in Tuscaloosa, he has opted to reopen his recruitment.
Ohio State is considered the early favorite to land Sayin per 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions. The Buckeyes need to replace Heisman finalist C.J. Stroud next season and Sayin would have a great chance to start right away in Columbus.
For Alabama, new head coach Kalen DeBoer now faces a mass exodus of recruits and transfers inherited from the Saban regime. Losing QB depth stings in particular, as their remaining scholarship players at the position are very inexperienced.
Eli Holstein will likely take over starter duties as a true freshman in 2023 if no other transfers come in. Alabama may otherwise need to mine the portal for a stop-gap veteran QB themselves.
Background on Sayin’s Recruitment and Commitment
Sayin originally committed to Alabama in July 2021 over Ohio State, Oklahoma, Notre Dame and others. At the time, he cited Saban’s development of quarterbacks like Tua Tagovailoa as a major factor in his decision.
However, his pledge did not deter other programs from continuing to pursue Sayin. Most notably, Ohio State and head coach Ryan Day hosted him for an official visit this past June.
|Julian Sayin’s Official Visits
|June 10, 2022
|June 24, 2022
|June 3, 2022
|June 17, 2022
There was speculation that Sayin could flip his commitment to the Buckeyes. But he held firm after meeting with Saban, reconfirming his verbal to Alabama during the early signing period in December.
Little did anyone know then that Saban would retire just a month later, leading Sayin to now reopen his recruitment. Ohio State stands to benefit given their prior interest and pursuit of the 5-star quarterback.
What Kind of Player is Sayin?
Despite lacking prototypical size at 6’1″, scouts praise Sayin for his refined mechanics, quick release, and advanced field vision. He exhibits all the traits necessary to run a complex passing offense at the college level.
During his senior season at Carlsbad High School, Sayin completed 72.5% of his passes for 3,815 yards, 34 touchdowns and just 5 interceptions. He added 357 rushing yards and 8 more scores on the ground.
Sayin capped off his spectacular HS career by winning MVP honors at the 2023 All-American Bowl. He clearly has the talent and upside to develop into a multi-year starter at a Power 5 program.
PFF College notes that Sayin earned an elite 92.4 overall grade throughout his senior season. He was accurate at every level of the field while making very few mistakes.
Whichever school lands Sayin will be getting an outstanding quarterback recruit. He may need a year or two to bulk up physically for the college game, but already shows the mastery of playing the position beyond his years.
Losing Julian Sayin just weeks after Nick Saban’s retirement continues the nightmare scenario for Alabama. With other key transfers as well, the Crimson Tide have gone from National Championship contenders to a team facing serious roster holes literally overnight.
Meanwhile, Sayin instantly becomes the crown-jewel transfer in the country. Ohio State stands as the favorite given their previous recruitment of him and need at quarterback. But Georgia, Texas A&M, LSU and other elite programs will surely be in hot pursuit as well.
Wherever the former 5-star prospect lands, he has all the makings of a future All-Conference signal caller. But Alabama missing out on his services altogether now leaves their QB room devoid of star power once again.
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