Report: Alabama LB Drew Sanders, Former 5-Star Recruit, Enters Transfer Portal

Erin WalshJanuary 11, 2022

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 04: Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Drew Sanders (20) applies pressure to the Miami Hurricanes punter Lou Hedley (94) during the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game between the Miami Hurricanes and the Alabama Crimson Tide on September 4, 2021 at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Alabama linebacker and former 5-star recruit Drew Sanders has reportedly entered the transfer portal, according to The Athletic's Max Olson

Sanders is expected to "command a lot of interest," Olson added. The sophomore started three games and appeared in 12 contests this campaign, but a hand injury he suffered in October against Ole Miss limited his availability.

In those 12 games, Sanders recorded one sack, 24 tackles, 2.5 tackles for a loss and two passes defended.

Sanders joined the Crimson Tide as the 22nd-ranked recruit in the class of 2020, per 247Sports' composite rankings. He was also ranked as the third-best player out of Texas behind Jaylon Jones and Zach Evans. 

247Sports recruiting analyst Gabe Brooks had this to say about Sanders when he was in high school:

"Big-framed jumbo athlete who could play high-major football on either side of the line of scrimmage in multiple spots. Owns outstanding height and frame length with a ton of space to add bulk. Physical profile fits edge defender and tight end. Playing experience at QB, tight end, receiver, and multiple spots on defense. Possesses size and athleticism to play traditional in-line tight end or a predominantly flex role. Shows good body control as a receiver. Adjusts well to the ball when needed. Encouraging consistency as a hands catcher. Owns a large catch radius. Motor runs high and physical style suggests high ceiling as a blocker. Will face adjustment to playing one position full-time after multiple roles in high school. Honing route-running precision and overall technique as a receiver will be keys in college. Great frame but must fill it out with proper bulk and strength. Can improve pad level and leverage consistency. Should become an impact Power 5 starter with the potential to reach an early-round NFL Draft projection."

It's unclear which schools Sanders might consider. He received offers as a recruit from LSU, Oklahoma, Georgia, Notre Dame, Oregon and Penn State, among others. 

In addition to Sanders, Crimson Tide tight end Jahleel Billingsley, linebacker King Mwikuta, wide receiver DJ Rias, defensive back Brylan Lanier and offensive lineman Tommy Brown entered the transfer portal, per ESPN's Adam Rittenberg. The decisions came after Alabama fell to Georgia 33-18 in the national championship game on Monday night. 

Despite losing several players, Alabama has plenty of incoming talent in 2022, including two 5-star recruits in edge Jeremiah Alexander and quarterback Ty Simpson; 5-star running back Emmanuel Henderson has also signed his letter of intent.