Which Alabama players could Oregon potentially pursue after Nick Saban’s retirement?

Wednesday brought news that seemingly no one in the college football world expected: legendary Alabama football coach Nick Saban is retiring and the Crimson Tide will be looking for a replacement head coach.

While there was speculation that Oregon Ducks head coach Dan Lanning would be Alabama’s next guy, it was announced Thursday morning that Lanning is staying in Oregon.

Following Saban’s retirement, schools around the country will be clamoring to land Alabama players who don’t want to play for whoever the new Crimson Tide coach is. Alabama players will have a 30-day window into the NCAA transfer portal following Saban’s retirement.

Below, I’ve compiled a list of the eight Crimson Tide players I think the Ducks are most likely to pursue if they decide to transfer. All of these situations are hypotheticals, and I’m thinking several steps ahead here. But there will inevitably be Crimson Tide players who decide to transfer after Saban’s retirement, and these eight players are who I think Oregon is most likely to pursue.

Kadyn Proctor - Sophomore OT

If Dan Lanning and the Ducks are going to pick up any of Alabama’s former recruits, Kadyn Proctor is the most likely candidate. The freshman offensive tackle — who played 811 snaps in his first college season — was heavily recruited by Lanning and the Ducks before his commitment to the Crimson Tide. And, after the success of Oregon’s offensive line in 2023, the Ducks have to be at the top of Proctor’s list if he decides he wants out of Tuscaloosa.

Richard Young - Redshirt Freshman RB

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Like Proctor, Richard Young is another player whom Oregon was in the running to land right until his commitment to Alabama. Young was a 4-star running back and the No. 7 ranked RB in the class of 2023, but he only took 12 snaps in his freshman season. Young may hit the portal following Saban’s retirement, but Oregon’s RB room is pretty crowded for 2024, so Young may look elsewhere.

Olaus Alinen - Redshirt Freshman OT

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Another potential Alabama target for Oregon is Olaus Alinen, a former  4-star offensive tackle prospect. In the summer before his senior year, Alinen took a series of official visits, one of which was to Oregon. The Ducks will have both of their starting tackles back for 2024, but they will lose one or both after next season. If Alinen does want to switch things up and join the Ducks, he may have to wait a year to have a spot on the field, but he could have a large role after that.

Jake Pope - Redshirt Sophomore S

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Jake Pope, a former 4-star safety recruit, could be an interesting player for the Ducks to target. During his recruitment and after his commitment to Alabama, Pope took an unofficial visit to Georgia — where Lanning was DC — meaning the Bulldogs might’ve been close to flipping Pope. Coming back to the present, Pope entered the transfer portal on January 7th. Whether his transfer is Saban-related or not, the Ducks may be a good landing spot for Pope, since safety is a big position of need for Oregon in 2024.

Miles McVay - Redshirt Freshman OT

Miles McVay, an offensive tackle in the class of 2023, is another recruit Dan Lanning and the Ducks pursued heavily before he chose Alabama. McVay — a former 4-star OT recruit — took an official visit to Oregon in the summer before his recruitment. As was true with Alinen, McVay wouldn’t have a starting spot on next year’s O-Line, but there may be space in 2025.

Shawn Murphy - Redshirt Sophomore LB

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Shawn Murphy is a former 4-star LB recruit in the class of 2022. Before his commitment to Alabama, Murphy took a visit to Georgia in 2021 — when Lanning was the Bulldogs defensive coordinator. In his two years with the Crimson Tide, Murphy has played just 34 snaps, so he could be looking to move on to a place where he’ll play more, especially after Saban’s retirement.

Tyler Booker - Junior OT

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Tyler Booker is the fourth and final offensive tackle on this list. He, like the others, took an official visit to Oregon before choosing the Tide. But unlike Alinen and McVay, Booker has ample playing experience. In his freshman season, Booker played over 400 snaps, and he played over 800 snaps in 2023. If Booker does want to leave Alabama, and if he wants to come to Eugene, he could immediately compete for a starting spot on the O-Line.

Keanu Koht - Redshirt Sophomore Edge

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The final player on this list is former 4-star edge rusher Keanu Koht. According to 247 Sports, Koht never visited Oregon during his recruitment, but he did announce it as one of his top four schools. Koht hasn’t played much in his first two seasons at Alabama, so Oregon could be his landing spot if he desires a change of scenery.

Story originally appeared on Ducks Wire