Saban's Retirement Yields Unexpected Dividends for Texas A&M Football
When Nick Saban announced a few days ago that he would be retiring, I think the first thing that struck most Texas A&M football fans was general shock. It didn't take long, however, for thoughts to go to how the league (and, for that matter, the whole sport) will look in a post-Saban world. That necessarily entails how the Alabama program will look after the GOAT leaves, which, in the world of the transfer portal, could be quite different.
Given the fact that the Aggies recently hired one of the Tide's leading recruiters and developers, Holmon Wiggins, as WR coach and co-OC, many Maroon and White faithful began to scan the Alabama roster for potential portal entries that could benefit the Aggies. Only one has entered the portal thus far, however, and it appears he may be headed to Austin, as the Longhorns seem to have gotten the inside track by the same means that netted them AD Mitchell (and Xavier Worthy, for that matter).
Regardless of where that receiver ends up, it turns out that the Saban retirement is helping the Aggies in a sort of roundabout manner. The Tide tabbed Kalen DeBoer as Saban's replacement on Friday, meaning the head Husky was leaving Washington only days after falling in the national championship. Given DeBoer's meteoric rise, his increased national profile, especially at the end of the season, was the reason many recruits were considering taking their talents to Seattle.
To that end, Washington has already seen a few decommitments after DeBoer's departure. One of those was TE Tre Watson, formerly of Fresno State. Attentive Aggies will recall that backup QB and late-season hero Jaylen Henderson also played at Fresno State, so there is an existing relationship there. Perhaps that played a part in what transpired today, as Watson flipped his commitment from Washington to the Aggies.
Adding Watson is a big get for the Aggies, whose new OC Collin Klein has been looking for a new pass-catching threat at that spot through the portal. They feature heavily in his system, and the Ags needed a replacement for the outbound Max Wright and Jake Johnson. Donovan Green's return will help on that front, but adding Watson is another big help. Welcome to Aggieland, Tre!