The search for Nick Saban’s replacement at Alabama continues, two days after the seven-time national champion hung up his headset.
On Thursday, Oregon head coach Dan Lanning shot down the idea he’d take the job when Lanning and Oregon released a video showing the Ducks head coach calling a team meeting and telling his players he wasn’t going anywhere.
Steve Sarkisian is reportedly close to finalizing an extension with Texas, and Florida State head coach Mike Norvell has agreed to an eight-year contract, according to multiple reports.
As Alabama looks to replace the legend, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith offered his take on who would be the best fit to become the Crimson Tide’s head coach — Colorado Buffaloes head coach Deion Sanders.
“Y’all going to call me crazy, but I’m going to say it again. ‘Prime Time’ Deion Sanders,” Smith said Friday on “First Take.”
“The reason why I feel that way is because I’m thinking about today’s generation of players. … I’m thinking about NIL. I’m thinking about the transfer portal, which obviously were things that Nick Saban had some degree of a problem with.”
Sanders overhauled the Colorado roster in his first season as head coach before going 4-8 in 2023.
“And then I’m thinking of Deion Sanders,” Smith said. “He’s got the top-ranked transfer class right now. This is the second year that he’s pulled that off. When you look at it from that perspective, the ability to recruit talent, I think if you’re going to replace the greatness of a Nick Saban, it starts and ends first and foremost with being able to recruit.
“That’s just me. It’s not going to happen. I know that. But that’s what I would say.”
The Buffaloes landed 20 players through the portal for the 2024 season and are ranked third behind Ole Miss and Texas A&M, according to 247 Sports.
Saban’s sudden retirement surprised most around the sport since Alabama was coming off a 12-win season and a spot in the College Football Playoff.
In an interview with ESPN, Saban said he wanted to leave the program while it was still in a good position to regularly compete for conference and national championships.
“The last few days have been hard,” Saban told ESPN in an interview Thursday. “But, look, it’s kind of like I told the players. I was going to go in there and ask them to get 100% committed to coming back and trying to win a championship, but I’ve always said that I didn’t want to ride the program down.”
As head coach of Alabama, Saban brought six national championships and nine SEC titles to Tuscaloosa while going 206-29.
In his 28 years as a head coach, which included stops at Toledo, Michigan State and LSU, Saban never had a losing season.
Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos and Chantz Martin contributed to this report
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