At 6-foot-7 and 270 pounds, LaMichael Fanning has the size and athleticism to be a monster on the field at a number of positions. However, the former four-star prospect was never able to tap into that potential with the Alabama Crimson Tide in three seasons, seeing the field sparingly over multiple position switches. With no clear role on this team now or in the foreseeable future, Fanning will leave Tuscaloosa and transfer to FCS Jacksonville State.
The redshirt sophomore played in just nine games over the last two seasons, recording seven total tackles in his Alabama career. His impact in 2013 was even less than 2012 as he made just three assisted tackles on the season. During fall camp, Fanning was moved to tight end to see if he could find a role there but the experiment quickly fell flat and he was returned to the defensive side of the ball to his original defensive end spot. He will leave Alabama with his most memorable moment likely being the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty he earned when he suplexed Missouri Tigers‘ running back Russell Hansbrough onto his head.
For Fanning, he becomes the second member of the Alabama football team to transfer to Jacksonville State this season, following offensive lineman Caleb Gulledge. The freshman was medically disqualified by the coaching staff before the season started and he soon made the transfer to JSU. Fanning will be eligible to play right away since it is a step down in classification and he will have two years of eligibility remaining. Hopefully for Fanning, he will be able to tap into that ability that made him such a highly-rated recruit and he can get his football career back on track.
Alabama will likely move on from this transfer without missing a beat. Fanning only made three assisted tackles on the season, after all, and zero since Alabama’s win over the Kentucky Wildcats back on October 12. He was not a factor in the defensive rotation of the Tide and was likely getting passed over by younger players who had found their footing in the program more quickly. In the end, it opens up a roster spot for Alabama and gives Fanning a new lease on football.