Alabama transfers To’oTo’o, Williams has early impact

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Alabama answered the question of what to get a team that has everything.

A quick wide receiver and a new center linebacker and defensive player are welcome gifts for any football team.

Top-ranked Crimson Tide offseason transfer pickups, wide receiver Jameson Williams and linebacker Henry To’oTo’o, have already given Alabama fans a glimpse of what they hope to expect throughout. the season.

Ohio State transfer Williams hit a 94-yard touchdown in the first 44-13 victory over Miami and former Tennessee starter To’oTo’o (TOE-oh-TOE-oh) completed seven tackles.

It’s no wonder Alabama defensive back Brian Branch is much happier having Williams as a teammate than preparing to face him in the National Championship game against the Buckeyes.

“It was very difficult,” Branch said. “I watched a movie of him every night.”

Williams and To’oTo’o make their Bryant-Denny Stadium debut for Alabama on Saturday against Mercer. But they’ve already made a splash as instant starters.

This is no small feat in a schedule loaded with other top recruits. But a team that was already defending the national champions and a favorite to win again has filled some potential voids.

Williams gave the Tide an experienced receiver with John Metchie III. He helped fill the gap left by two first-round NFL draft picks, Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle, in a mostly young squad.

Williams had four catches for 126 yards, most of it on 94 yards for Bryce Young who tied for the second longest touchdown pass in Alabama history. He did so with Smith, Waddle and Henry Ruggs III – all first-round receivers – on the sidelines.

“The guys who were on the sidelines, we talked during the game, before the game, just cutting him off,” Williams said Tuesday. “I feel like I’m one of those guys. I was one of those guys when I enlisted in Alabama out of the transfer portal. Once you are a Bama family, you are a family.

But in January, Williams was preparing to face the Tide in the National Championship game. He only had one catch for 14 yards.

Williams said he did not plan to move to Alabama in January when the two teams faced off, but the transition went smoothly.

While ‘Bama was reloading at the receiver, the Buckeyes were simply charged.

“I was really comfortable coming to Alabama. It’s a great environment, ”said Williams, who had 15 catches for 266 yards in two seasons at Ohio State. “I love the environment and everything.

“I feel like I fit in well with my state of mind and that of these guys, playing with my brothers. I really feel at ease.

He said Alabama was his second choice out of high school.

For To’oTo’o, two schools were ahead of the tide. He ended up starting each of his two years in Tennessee.

His arrival allowed Tide star Christian Harris to play his most natural position while To’oTo’o took over the playcall duties as Mike’s linebacker. He made seven tackles in his Alabama debut.

But in some ways it was a tricky balancing act for the newcomer, albeit experienced.

“You come here with a group, a team that has been together and you’re the new guy, so I didn’t really come with the mindset of being the defensive caller, of being the caller.” , To’oTo ‘o said.

“I wanted to be that guy they could trust, that they could call in the evening, in the morning, when they needed me. So that was kind of my approach, just being able to build relationships with the guys so that it could translate into the field. “

He entered the transfer portal in January, two days after Tennessee sacked coach Jeremy Pruitt. He picked Alabama, one of the Volunteers’ biggest rivals, in May against Ohio State.

To’oTo’o said it wasn’t a huge adjustment since Pruitt was a former Tide defensive coordinator and there were similarities in the systems.

Playing for Alabama coach Nick Saban was a big part of the draw.

“Who doesn’t want to play for Coach Saban? To’oTo’o said. “And the culture, guys here, how so keen they are to win. It’s just a blessing for me to be here.

And it’s also a boost for Alabama.

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