Ole Miss' Lane Kiffin Says Alabama Has Edge Because It Can 'Cherry-Pick' Transfers

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IISeptember 23, 2021

Mississippi head coach Lane Kiffin watches a replay during the second half of the team's NCAA college football game against Tulane on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021, in Oxford, Miss. Mississippi won 61-21. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

Ole Miss football head coach Lane Kiffin referenced Alabama's success in the NCAA transfer portal as one of the reasons the Crimson Tide have such a historically talented program.

"Now they go to cherry-pick players for any holes they may have like an Ohio State receiver [Jameson Williams] or a Tennessee linebacker [Henry To'o To'o]," Kiffin said, per ESPN's Alex Scarborough.

"So now, it's like not only do they get the best draft picks but they get to go into free agency and take players, so it really is going to set up one of the most talented teams ever, which is what we're getting ready to play."

The two players Kiffin referenced are making a big impact with the No. 1 Crimson Tide. Williams leads the team with 218 receiving yards. To'o To'o is No. 1 with 22 tackles.

Alabama's transfer portal success is in addition to its yearly wins on the recruiting trail. Per 247Sports, Alabama had the No. 1 class in 2019 and 2021 and the No. 2 class in 2020.

The Crimson Tide went 13-0 en route to a national championship last year and started this season with a 3-0 record capped by a 31-29 win at No. 11 Florida.

That's in addition to the team's resounding dominance under head coach Nick Saban over the past 15 years. The Crimson Tide have won six national titles with him at the helm.

Kiffin was there for three of them (2014-2016) as offensive coordinator, winning one championship in 2015.

He clearly has plenty of respect for the program based on his remarks to reporters Wednesday.

"As we know, they have a great team, great players. I wish the media would stop upsetting Coach Saban by saying this is a weak team or has weaknesses. I mean, they went on the road into a top-10 team, into the Swamp and won with a freshman quarterback. Got an early lead and hung on at the end and now all of a sudden it's not a good team and they have weaknesses and they can't stop people, so it doesn't really help us a lot being around there knowing how that place works."

Alabama will host Southern Miss on Saturday before welcoming Kiffin's Rebels into Tuscaloosa on Sat., Oct. 2. The No. 13 Rebels have averaged 52.7 points per game en route to a 3-0 start.

Led by Heisman Trophy candidate Matt Corral, Ole Miss could give the Crimson Tide a stiff challenge at Bryant-Denny Stadium. That's the next game for the Rebels, who have a bye week before traveling to Alabama.