Former Alabama linebacker Drew Sanders visits two schools, set for third

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Former Alabama linebacker Drew Sanders has decided to continue his college football career away from Tuscaloosa, and he has had a busy week thus far with another visit lined up for Friday and Saturday.

According to Gerry Hamilton of On3, Sanders visited Arkansas on Wednesday and Oklahoma on Thursday. He will visit Texas on Friday and stay through Saturday. Sanders held offers from all three programs in high school.

The former five-star recruit is a native of Denton, Texas, which is outside of Dallas. He was the No. 3 recruit in the state, No. 5 linebacker and No. 25 overall recruit nationally in the 2020 class according to On3 Consensus, a complete and equally weighted industry-generated average that utilizes all four major recruiting media companies. 

Sanders entered the transfer portal on Jan. 11, the day after Alabama’s national title loss to Georgia in Indianapolis. Seven additional players have entered the portal since Tuesday, with the most recent addition being wide receiver Javon Baker on Friday.

Transfer portal background information 

The NCAA Transfer Portal, which covers every NCAA sport at the Division I, II and III levels, is a private database with names of student-athletes who wish to transfer. It is not accessible to the public.

The process of entering the portal is done through a school’s compliance office. Once a player provides written notification of an intent to transfer, the office enters the player’s name in the database and everything is off and running. The compliance office has 48 hours to comply with the player’s request and that request cannot be refused.

Once a player’s name shows up in the portal, other schools can contact the player. Players can change their minds at any point and withdraw from the portal. However, once a player enters the portal, the current scholarship no longer has to be honored. In other words, if a player enters the portal but decides to stay, the school is not obligated to provide a scholarship anymore.

The database is a normal database, sortable by a variety of topics, including (of course) sport and name. A player’s individual entry includes basic details such as contact info, whether the player was on scholarship and whether the player is transferring as a graduate student.

A player can ask that a “do not contact” tag be placed on the report. In those instances, the players don’t want to be  contacted by schools unless they’ve initiated the communication.

The portal has been around since Oct. 15, 2018 and the new calendar cycle within the portal begins each August. For example, the 2021-22 cycle started Aug. 1. During the 2020-21 cycle, 2,626 FBS football players entered the transfer portal (including walk-ons). That comes after 1,681 entered during the 2019-20 cycle and 1,709 during the abbreviated 2018-19 cycle. In comparison, 1,833 Division I basketball players entered the portal during the 2020-21 cycle after totals of 1,020 in 2019-20 and 1,063 in 2018-19.