Julian Sayin, the former 5-star quarterback recruit who signed with Alabama in December, has entered the transfer portal and will be joining Ohio State. Sayin was rated as the No. 1 quarterback and No. 3 overall player in the 2024 recruiting class. His decision comes on the heels of legendary Alabama coach Nick Saban announcing his retirement earlier this month.
Sayin Was A Prize Recruit for Alabama
The 6-foot-1, 185 pound quarterback had committed to Alabama back in July over offers from powerhouse programs like Georgia, LSU, Florida, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Texas, USC and Ohio State among others.
Sayin enrolled early at Alabama this January with the intention of competing for the starting job in 2024 after current Crimson Tide starter Jalen Milroe exhausts his eligibility. However, Saban’s decision to retire appears to have led Sayin and other top Alabama commits to reconsider their options.
According to Sayin’s high school coach Thadd MacNeal, Nick Saban’s retirement played a big role in his star pupil choosing to transfer:
“That was his guy. When he committed in July at the elite 11 finals, coach Saban was the guy,” MacNeal said. “The relationship and the plan they had in place, everything was around that.”
MacNeal went on to add that Sayin plans to compete right away for a starting job wherever he lands.
Several analysts see Sayin’s transfer as part of growing trend of top recruits jumping ship in the wake of Saban’s exit:
This is shaping up as a mass exodus of premier Alabama talent, all because the greatest coach in college football history has decided to call it quits. Ranked No. 3 overall in the 2024 class by the 247Sports Composite Rankings, Sayin is the highest-rated quarterback signee in Alabama history. – CBS Sports
Ohio State Favored to Land Sayin
Most experts expect Sayin to choose Ohio State as his next destination, which would add even more firepower to an already loaded Buckeyes quarterback room. 2022 Heisman finalist C.J. Stroud is expected to head to the NFL after next season, meaning the starting job would open up right as Sayin becomes eligible in 2024.
Several crystal ball predictions have already rolled in favoring the Buckeyes:
Between Quinn Ewers in 2021 and Arch Manning in 2023, Ohio State has made a habit of landing program-changing quarterback recruits. Sayin has the potential to follow in their footsteps. – Eleven Warriors
Landing Sayin would continue Ohio State’s ridiculous run of elite quarterback recruits that started with Ewers, Manning and now Sayin over three straight classes.
If Sayin does select Ohio State, he would also reunite with former teammate and 5-star wide receiver Brandon Inniss, who enrolled early with the Buckeyes several days ago. The chance to link up with Inniss again is believed to be a major factor behind the scenes.
How Does This Impact Alabama?
Losing Sayin is yet another big blow to the Crimson Tide program after Saban’s retirement. It also further contributes to growing skepticism that Saban’s 35-year-old replacement Kalen DeBoer will be able to sustain the unprecedented success.
DeBoer has yet to coach a game for Alabama, but inherits sky-high expectations from the most accomplished coach in the sport’s history. And now he must attempt to navigate an exodus of transfers while trying to hold together the top-ranked 2024 recruiting class.
Several analysts have noted it is an exceptionally difficult situation for a first-time college head coach:
For DeBoer, tasked with the tallest of orders in replacing Saban, holding together the No. 1-ranked 2024 class and roster continuity has become paramount pillars to build upon his debut season at Alabama. The exit lines continue to grow. – Yahoo Sports
The portal departures also leaves Alabama dangerously thin at quarterback heading into a critical rebuilding year:
Attempting to play elite SEC competition with an inexperienced second-year player and true freshman could prove an extremely difficult proposition.
All signs point to turbulent times ahead for Alabama football after enjoying a dominant 15-year run under Saban. How well DeBoer navigates the rough waters in his first year at the helm will determine whether Alabama maintains a spot atop the college football world or begins fading into irrelevance once again.
What’s Next for Julian Sayin?
All indications are that Sayin will take his talents to Columbus, Ohio next. The elite quarterback will need to visit campus and make his transfer official, but most expect that to only be a formality at this point.
Once that happens, all eyes will turn to spring practice to see how quickly Sayin can make an impression and compete for the starting role in 2024. If not beginning next season, then almost certainly the year after once multi-year Heisman candidate C.J. Stroud moves on to the NFL.
And for Alabama, the search continues to find stability during a disruptive transistion period in the post-Saban era. For the first time in over a decade, the Crimson Tide find themselves in an unfamiliar position of weakness and uncertainty heading into 2024 and beyond.
To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.