Nick Saban Shares Injury Update on Alabama WR Transfer

Nick Saban

Getty Nick Saban won't be getting his injured transfer receiver out of Louisville back against ULM

Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide are out of luck, given their inability to integrate wide receiver Tyler Harrell — a transfer out of Louisville who was quiet for three seasons before breaking out in 2021 — into the offense in one of their final tune-ups before SEC West play.

“He has not been able to practice this week,” Saban said during the 2022 SEC coaches teleconference on September 14. “He will not play in this game. He’s kind of day-to-day with this foot (injury) that he has. Hopefully, he’ll be back sometime soon.”

Harrell caught 18 passes for 523 yards during his third active season with the Cardinals (he saw no action during the 2020 COVID season) before taking to the transfer portal in April. He was ranked the 5th best Alabama transfer and 13th best SEC’s transfer in Saturday Down South writer Matt Hayes’ conference transfer rankings.

Hayes relayed an ACC’s coach opinion that Harrell has a chance to be special and even compared him to former Alabama receiver Jameson Williams due to his 6-foot-4, 190-pound frame. Williams was taken with the 12th pick in the 2022 NFL draft this past April, so that ceiling could bode well for the Crimson Tide when he does return — especially because he was more effective at Louisville than Williams was at Ohio State.

Why Tyler Harrell Chose Alabama

With Jameson Williams, John Metchie III and Slade Bolden all gone to the NFL, the defending SEC champions needed an infusion of talent in the receiving corps. Nick Saban delivered by poaching Jermaine Burton out of National Champion Georgia’s grasp, grabbing Georgia Tech’s elite passing backfield threat RB Jahmyr Gibbs, and drawing Tyler Harrell away from an underperforming Louisville program.

Harrell’s decision was made easy by how much he enjoyed visiting Bryant-Denny Stadium and the University of Alabama campus. “It was phenomenal,” Harrell said, per BamaOnLine. “It was a good fanbase. It was an experience I ain’t ever seen before. I was excited about it. I liked what was going on as far as the facilities, the football field, the apartments, stuff like that. The academics, they’re big on that as well. Everything was just great.”

Another big pull was returning third-year signal-caller Bryce Young. Prior to his commitment, Harrell spoke highly of the defending Heisman Trophy winner — projecting a clean quarterback-receiver fit between the two.

“I just feel like with his arm and his capability of throwing the ball, I feel like our chemistry would be fine with the speed I have and the capability I have as well. I feel like we could go a long way with it.”

Nick Saban’s Assessment of Tyler Harrell

Back on August 7 during Alabama media day on the first Sunday of fall camp, Nick Saban offered a neutral update on Harrell’s progress in Crimson up until that point.

“He has been able to practice on a daily basis but not 100%. I do think that he has shown that he has a lot of ability. We just need to get it channeled in the right direction so that we can use him in a way that’s going to be most productive for him and for us.”

Not much has changed since then.

Harrell could end up being a stellar late-season addition to an Alabama team that is facing a gauntlet in October. While Texas A&M may not be the threat they were hyped up to be in the preseason after a recent loss to Appalachian State at Kyle Field, Arkansas and Tennessee figure to be given their massive non-conference passed tests against Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, respectively. Will Rogers and the Mississippi State air-raid offensive attack will be a great test to close out the month.

On the flip side, he could also get lost in the shuffle with Jahmyr Gibbs getting so many looks in the passing game and Ja’Corey Brooks, Traeshon Holden, and Cameron Latu supplementing Jermaine Burton in a loaded Crimson Tide receiving corps.

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