Alabama can't survive losses of Julian Sayin, Kadyn Proctor: Auburn football analyst

Jan 13, 2024; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; The University of Alabama introduced new head football coach
Jan 13, 2024; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; The University of Alabama introduced new head football coach / Gary Cosby Jr.-Tuscaloosa News / USA

Auburn Daily's Brian Smith has very little faith that Alabama will be able to retain its stranglehold on the SEC in the wake of Nick Saban's retirement, with Julian Sayin, Kadyn Proctor, and Caleb Downs, among other blue-chip talents, ditching Tuscaloosa after Kalen DeBoer's arrival. Smith also believes that the LSU, Ole Miss, and Auburn football programs -- not to mention the rest of the SEC -- are bound to catch up to the Crimson Tide's dominance given Alabama's epic mass exodus from their roster.

"Offensive tackle Kadyn Proctor is in the Transfer Portal," Smith prefaced before saying, "So is elite safety Caleb Downs and talented running back Roydell Williams, the latter now enrolled at Florida State. The list is long for Alabama players leaving the program. Now, ESPN college football insider Pete Thamel is reporting that 5-star quarterback recruit Julian Sayin will enter the Transfer Portal as well.

"As teams like LSU, Auburn, Ole Miss, and many others attempt to catch up to the Crimson Tide, it appears that the once-dominant program is coming back to the pack. Alabama simply cannot take this kind of attrition and remain at the top of the SEC and college football."

Auburn football in a position to surpass Alabama by 2025

The lack of clarity under center for the Tigers could ultimately hold the program back in 2024. As of right now, the offense is either being entrusted to Payton Thorne, redshirt freshman Hank Brown, or true freshman Walker White. In the case of the latter two, the ceiling is likely higher, but there's still not an SEC championship ceiling for AU with such little experience at QB.

Alabama retaining Jalen Milroe, a talented running back room, and a few key members of their OL and defense should keep them competitive in 2024. But the Tide are done going to SEC Championships. DeBoer's Alabama has a ceiling of nine wins right now at most, barring a transfer portal performance for the ages come May.

By 2025, Auburn will have taken over the state. Hugh Freeze should have DeBoer's Alabama in the rearview before long since the latter may just be in over his head in the south based on his underwhelming defensive coordinator hires.