Has a past prized four-star signing moved on from the Alabama Crimson Tide? Even after his name was present on the Alabama roster for Southeastern Conference (SEC) media days?
Wide receiver Thaiu Jones-Bell was notably left off the Tide’s 2023 roster. Tide insider for Tuscaloosa News Nick Kelly was first to spot it on Thursday, August 3.
Sure enough, Alabama’s football website doesn’t list the wideout’s name anywhere. His disappearance online, however, still left suspicion on his future with the program. And the head coach who helped bring him into Tuscaloosa Nick Saban revealed the reason.
Saban Reacts to Jones-Bell Being Absent
Via Mike Rodak of Bama 247 on CBS Sports, the 2020 signing is dealing with a medical issue.
Saban additionally revealed that Jones-Bell will be taking a medical redshirt season — hence the reason behind his name being removed from the team’s roster.
It’s not determined what exactly Jones-Bell’s health issue is. But due to the fact he’s taking a medical redshirt season, it’s the indicator his health scare is more serious than originally thought.
Jones-Bell Was Part of Decorated ’20 Class
Jones-Bell came to Tuscaloosa as a prized Sunshine State find for Saban and company.
The standout from Miami Carol City was the state’s No. 18 overall prospect by 247Sports. National recruiting writer Charles Power compared him to former Tennessee Titans WR Taywan Taylor in his prospect evaluation while also calling him a potential day two draft pick:
“Has a stocky, thicker frame for the position. Build somewhat resembles that of a running back. Owns well-above-average long speed. Highly productive pass catcher who put forth a breakout junior season, scoring 17 touchdowns on just 38 catches. Shows the ability to create splash plays at all levels. Easily creates separation off the line of scrimmage and is a downfield threat with high level change of direction and pace within his routes. Tracks the ball well downfield. Also presents a threat out of the slot and in the quick game with the ability to maximize yardage after the catch. Faces top competition and Power 5 caliber cornerbacks on a near weekly basis. Production and skills outpace his sheer physical ability. Projects as a multi-year starter at the Power 5 level with the ability to play in the slot and outside. Has the upside to develop into an early round NFL draft pick.”
But Jones-Bell was a part of a famed recruiting class for the Tide. He joined a group that featured a future No. 1 overall pick named Bryce Young, plus another fellow top five draft pick named Will Anderson Jr.
Jones-Bell also arrived to ‘Bama alongside another top four-star addition in Javon Baker. Baker, however, has since transferred to Central Florida.
Who Does Alabama Turn to Now?
Alabama remains deep at the WR spot — which is annually one of their deepest position groups.
Ja’Corey Brooks is one of the more experienced options as a 2019 prospect. Georgia transfer Jermaine Burton, however, is the likely No. 1 target ahead of the ’23 season.
Alabama additionally welcomed prized junior college transfer Malik Benson from Hutchinson Community College in Kansas — who was even briefly a five-star prospect by On3.com.
The Tide additionally will welcome four-star newcomer Jalen Hale from Longview, Texas through the 2023 recruiting class. Jaren Hamilton, who hails from Jones-Bell’s home state of Florida, is the third new addition through the ’23 class coming to Tuscaloosa.