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Alabama coach Nick Saban denies the program tampered with wide receiver Tyler Harrell before he entered the transfer portal.
Harrell transferred from Louisville to Alabama in April.
Saban told reporters Wednesday:
“I don’t know of anybody that tampered with him. You know, I don’t really know that anybody’s ever tampered with our players. I just think sometimes when things happen it makes you wonder. So I’m not making any accusations against anybody that’s done anything to our players, and I don’t have any knowledge of anybody that’s done anything with anybody else’s players.”
Louisville coach Scott Satterfield told Chris Hummer of 247Sports he believes tampering took place with Harrell before he decided to enter the transfer portal.
“I think it’s not only him, it’s happened before here,” Satterfield said. “Last year we had a few guys that jumped into the portal and the next day they’re announcing where they’re going. You can look at that and know that something went on before they were in the portal.”
High-profile transfers are at an all-time high, thanks mostly to a combination of NIL money and the NCAA allowing one-time transfers without a player losing eligibility. That created a perfect storm where star players could put themselves in the portal and essentially shop their services.
While many coaches have bemoaned a Wild West mentality in the new system, players are finally getting a piece of the pie after being shut out of a billion-dollar business for decades.
Harrell is one of college football’s fastest players, posting a 4.24-second 40-yard-dash time at a Louisville pro day last year. He’ll join an Alabama passing game that has turned speedsters into stars in recent years, though Harrell has minimal production through two seasons at Louisville. The Miami native has recorded just 20 career receptions, but those have gone for 559 yards and six touchdowns.
The scope of Alabama’s football program and its history of producing NFL players dwarfs Louisville; the Crimson Tide’s national prominence will also help Harrell market himself for NIL contracts.
Even if there was no tampering involved, Harrell’s reasoning for moving from Louisville to Alabama is obvious.