One of Nick Saban’s top recruits from last year appears to be sticking with the Alabama Crimson Tide in 2019 after a brief flirtation with the transfer portal.
Per ESPN, Saban announced on Wednesday that former five-star linebacker Eyabi Anoma has removed his name from the NCAA transfer portal just 24 hours after putting his name in.
Anoma was Alabama’s top-rated prospect in the Class of 2018. 247Sports had Anoma rated as the No. 4 prospect in the country, the No. 1 weak-side defensive end, and the No. 1 prospect from the state of Maryland.
He was also rated the No. 48 all-time prospect since the onset of 247Sports’ rankings.
Nick Saban just told ESPN that linebacker Eyabi Anoma is no longer in the Transfer Portal
— Rocco DiSangro (@RoccoDiSangro) February 6, 2019
Per the reports, Saban convinced Anoma to avoid transferring.
Saban just said he talked Eyabi Anoma out of the transfer portal.
— Chris Cato FOX 13 (@chriscato) February 6, 2019
AL.com’s Matt Zenitz reported on Tuesday that Anoma had entered the transfer portal. CBS Sports then speculated that Anoma might be a prime candidate to join former Alabama assistant and new Maryland head coach Mike Locksley back at his home state program.
Anoma appeared in 12 games as a true freshman this season, making nine tackles (two for loss).
Retaining Anoma is obviously a huge win for Saban. Alabama has lost former starting quarterback Jalen Hurts (Oklahoma) and offensive lineman Richie Petitbon (Illinois) to transfer this offseason.
Earlier this week, two other Alabama players entered the transfer portal: defensive back Kyriq McDonald and long snapper Scott Meyer.