Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Football’s fresh faces in crimson look to build on a solid spring

CW/ Jennifer Stroud

Following Nick Saban’s retirement, Alabama football faced a significant roster turnover. With key players like Isaiah Bond and Caleb Downs opting to enter the NCAA transfer portal and others like JC Latham and Terrion Arnold leaving Tuscaloosa for the NFL, the Crimson Tide had multiple roster holes to fill entering the spring. 

On Alabama’s 2024 A-Day, the Walk of Champions witnessed the debut of more than just the new head coach, Kalen DeBoer, and his staff. Saturday’s scrimmage also featured 27 freshmen and incoming transfers, including multiple players who have made a pivotal impact this spring.  

Players such as freshmen Caleb Odom and Dre Kirkpatrick Jr. and juniors Germie Bernard, Keon Sabb and Domani Jackson made their presence felt throughout the spring, including at A-Day. 

Washington transfer wide receiver Germie Bernard was the newcomer with the most prominent showing on A-Day. 

Standing 6 feet, 1 inch, Bernard has been well-traveled throughout his college career. The native of Las Vegas, Nevada, transferred from Michigan State to Washington after his freshman season. He was mainly a depth piece for the Huskies throughout their College Football Playoff run, sitting behind two 1,000-plus-yard wide receivers in Rome Odunze and Ja’lynn Polk. 

When Alabama hired DeBoer, Bernard was one of the coach’s few former players who promptly entered the transfer portal after the announcement, taking his talents from Seattle to Tuscaloosa. 

Bernard has impressed this spring. The receiver is projected to be a crucial piece for Alabama, which lost two-star wide receivers in Bond and Jermaine Burton. 

Bernard’s A-Day performance led the Crimson Tide receiving room. He finished the game with 122 yards on three receptions, which included two deep connections with quarterback Jalen Milroe. 

Aside from his performance on the field, Milroe said Bernard has been a critical leader for the Crimson Tide during its transition from Saban to DeBoer. 

“I like Germie a lot,” Milroe said. “Great size, great speed, tough, confident. And when you have a player that plays confident, it’s hard to stop them. I’m proud of him because of the leader he was when he came here. Because it’s a hard transition coming from Washington, now here. It’s a different environment.” 

Bernard hasn’t been the only wideout to make an impact this spring; Odom has been a breakout player. 

Odom had a quieter A-Day, totaling only two receptions for 11 yards, one being a 6-yard catch, where Odom outmuscled a defensive back, showcasing his size and strength. The four-star recruit’s impact throughout spring practice shouldn’t be understated. The Carrollton, Georgia, native has caught everyone’s eyes since arriving on campus, standing at 6 feet, 5 inches and shifting from his native position, tight end, to wide receiver.  

Defensively, the secondary has gone through the most significant shake-up of any position group on the roster this offseason. Transfers such as Sabb and Jackson were crucial pieces for the Crimson Tide in the spring. 

Sabb transferred to Alabama after winning the national championship with the Michigan Wolverines, and has quickly filled the hole at safety that was left when Caleb Downs skipped town for Ohio State after Saban’s retirement.  

As for Jackson, the California native played at Southern California for two seasons before transferring to Alabama. Jackson was a highly ranked recruit with a consensus five-star ranking of fifth in 2022, according to the On3 industry ranking.  

Malachi Moore, a player entering his fifth year with the Crimson Tide, said both newcomers have had a significant influence during their time in Tuscaloosa. 

“They both are experienced players. They both know a lot about the game,” Moore said. “[Jackson] is really good in this defense, and they’ve seen a lot of vision coverage at USC, so the transition for him has been easy. For Sabb, he is a really down-to-earth guy coming in to work each and every day. His ultimate goal is to be the best in the country, like all of us. I think those two are going to be really good for us.” 

As for the freshman safety Kirkpatrick, A-Day was a full-circle moment for him and his family. 

Kirkpatrick’s father, Dre Kirkpatrick Sr., was a top player during Saban’s tenure at Alabama. Kirkpatrick Sr. won two national championships with the Crimson Tide in 2009 and 2011 and was named an All-American in the ladder year. 

While hoping his son has the same impact he did for the Crimson Tide, Kirkpatrick Sr. said his son plays the game differently.  

“The first thing that pops off to me is his physicality,” Kirkpatrick Sr. said. “I was more of a finesse guy; I was a guy who, when I’d see the block, I would try and figure out a way to get around the block to make the tackle. He’s one of those old-school, hardnoses, rip-your-face-off, run-through-you-to-get-to-the-tackle type of guys.” 

During the A-Day scrimmage, with his dad in attendance, Kirkpatrick Jr. intercepted a ball thrown by Austin Mack, which was called back for a penalty; still, despite the turnover being negated, Kirkpatrick Jr.’s interception is notable because, just like his dad, he’s made an early impact at the beginning of an Alabama coach’s tenure.  


Overall, as Alabama football enters a new era under DeBoer, the impact of new players cannot be overstated for the program because, like DeBoer, they are all trying to prove themselves to Alabama fans.

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