A few days later, Harrell was on the Alabama campus for a visit and it didn’t take long for him to Declared his commitment to the Crimson Tide. The whole process – Harrell’s appearance at the gate on April 12 and his commitment to Alabama on April 22 – took 10 days, leading to questions about the absurd.
Harrell had 18 passes for 532 yards and six touchdowns last season, so he’s a notable addition for Alabama and a big loss for Louisville. Louisville coach Scott Satterfield told 247Sports that he believes tampering occurred with Harrell’s recruitment, although he has no way of definitively proving it.
“I think it’s not just him, it’s happened before here,” Satterfield told 247Sports. “Last year we had a few guys who jumped at the gate and the next day they announced their destination. You can look at that and see that something happened before they were at the gate.”
Asked about the claim on Wednesday, Alabama coach Nick Saban said his program “doesn’t mess with anyone.”
“We don’t mess with anyone,” Saban said on Al.com.
Mess is more prevalent than ever in college football
In the current college football environment that includes a one-time transfer rule and nothing payments, foul play has been a controversial topic outside the season (just ask a home audience about Jordan Addison’s position).
Although teams are not allowed to talk to potential transfers until their name is listed in the gate, you will often see a player enter the gate and announce their commitment to a new school within days. In general, there are behind-the-scenes contacts – usually with a third party such as a high school coach – to make these arrangements work.
Doodling has always existed in the background, but it seems to be more common now than ever as players have much more freedom of movement than in years past.
“I think it’s really hard to control third parties – whether that’s directly or indirectly,” Saban said. “When you have a guy leave your show and go somewhere else the day after the game, it makes you wonder. Hopefully we have enough honesty and integrity between us professionally in our sport that people stick to the rules.”
Alabama has seen more than 20 of its players enter the transfer window since last season. But The Tide added five moves that are expected to be very impressive. In addition to Harrell, Alabama added former Georgia future Jermaine Burton, Georgia Tech running back Jahmyr Gibbs, former LSU cornerback Eli Ricks and former Vanderbilt Tyler Steen.
Louisville has also been active in the gate with running Tiyon Evans and wide receiver Tyler Hudson among the team’s most notable off-season additions.