Caleb Downs, a star quarterback for Alabama, enters the transfer portal in Georgia as a potential landing spot.

Caleb Downs, a star quarterback for Alabama, enters the transfer portal in Georgia as a potential landing spot.

After a standout freshman campaign, Alabama safety Caleb Downs has gone into the transfer portal, with Georgia, per 247Sports, emerging as the “clear favorite” to acquire his services.

Downs established himself as a preeminent defensive back in the SEC and was named Freshman of the Year for a Crimson Tide squad that advanced to the College Football Playoffs.

“Recruitment-wise, it is evident that we are not starting from scratch,” Gary Downs, the father of Caleb, told 247Sports.

“So many of the aforementioned coaches are already familiar to us. “We’ve visited numerous locations. Certain parameters define the nature of the things he seeks.”

Even though the deadline for portal access has passed, Alabama players were granted a 30-day window to transfer upon the resignation of coach Nick Saban. A loss to Downs would be catastrophic for both the program and its new coach, Kalen DeBoer.

Alabama started the season opener with a five-star prospect as well as the top safety among the Class of 2023, according to 247Sports. Downs lived up to the acclaim he received during his high school career.

He earned 107 tackles or two interceptions for the season and was named to the FWAA Freshman All-American or second-team All-SEC teams.

On November 18, Downs demonstrated his potential as a kick returner by completing a touchdown return from 85 yards out against Chattanooga.

His Pro Football Focus coverage grade of 88.9 ranked first in the conference among all safeties. Additionally, he made program history as an Alabama freshman by leading the team in tackles.

Travaris Robinson was recently hired by Georgia from Alabama as co-defensive coordinator and safety coach.

Before this, Robinson coached the Red Tide’s cornerbacks for the past two seasons. Robinson is an esteemed SEC coaching veteran, and UGA is an obvious landing spot given his association with Downs.

Mill Creek High School in Hoschton, Georgia, was where Downs competed. Downs attended Georgia Tech in Athens, which is less than an hour away by car, and was highly critical of the Bulldogs during his senior year of high school. Moreover, the passage of safety Javon Bullard into the NFL Draft has created a void that Downs must now fill.

However, should the relationship between Downs and Georgia fail, Downs would undoubtedly have an abundance of suitors.

According to 247Sports, Ohio State is a possible destination for keeping an eye on the star defensive back if his transfer to Georgia fails.

Many argue that he is the most promising non-quarterback transfer during this cycle, as he has two seasons left until he becomes eligible for the NFL Draft and is already considered one of the top safeties in college football.

Downs is reportedly poised to make an entry into the transfer portal after coach Nick Saban’s retirement last week, as stated in various reports.

As a freshman in 2023, Downs was one of Alabama’s top defenders, and heading into the 2024 season, he was regarded as a pillar for the Crimson Tide defense.

With 107 tackles, 40 more than the average player on the team, Downs also accumulated 3.5 tackles for loss. Furthermore, Downs recovered a fumble that was forced upon him, in addition to his four passes defended and two interceptions.

Downs was the preeminent player in the state of Georgia and one of the top five-star recruits in the class of 2023.

Furthermore, Downs earned the top spot among safety rankings nationally. UGA Sports of Rivals has already identified Georgia as a potential candidate to acquire Downs.

Bond, who was the first Alabama player to declare his intention to transfer since Saban’s retirement on Wednesday, announced on Sunday that he would be attending Texas.

Bond accumulated 48 receptions for 668 yards and four touchdowns to lead Alabama in receptions.

Alabama maintained its College Football Playoff aspirations and defeated Auburn in its regular season finale on fourth down by catching a 31-yard touchdown pass in the final minute.

In the wake of WRs Xavier Worthy and Adonai Mitchell announcing their intention to enter the 2024 NFL draft, this is a significant acquisition for Texas.

In addition, new coach Kalen DeBoer will have to find replacements for his team’s two best wide receivers in the wake of Bond’s departure. Jermaine Burton, who led the team in receiving yards with 798, is also leaving for the NFL.