Decision looms for OL transfer Tyler Steen after Alabama visit
The University of Alabama hasn't missed on too many transfer targets the last few years. The Crimson Tide hit on two major transfers in the 2021 cycle when it added wide receiver Jameson Williams and linebacker Henry To'oto'o.
It certainly appears Alabama has stuck gold again with the off-season acquisitions of running back Jahmry Gibbs, wide receiver Jermaine Burton, and defensive back Eli Ricks. The Tide has its eyes set on another prize in Vanderbilt offensive line transfer in Tyler Steen.
Steen entered the transfer portal in January and entertained several top schools from coast-to-coast. He started 33 games during his time with the Commodores including the last two seasons at left tackle.
His father, Daris, informed BamaInsider last month of the plan to visit Alabama. Tyler will announce a final decision at some point by next Monday. The choice will come down between Alabama, LSU and Virginia. His brother, Blake, signed with the Cavaliers in February.
"To have the opportunity to have brothers there is great," Daris Steen said of Virginia. "At some point they will have to separate and go their own ways. You have to make the decision that is best for you. It can still be Virginia, but Tyler is going to do what is best for him."
Alabama had hoped to receive the final visit prior to making his choice. He and his father arrived in Tuscaloosa on Friday evening where they remained until Sunday morning. There was a lot to do, see and hear in the short time period which also included two Tide practices.
The Crimson Tide has a trio of players on the roster from Steen's former high school, St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale: Dallas Turner, Jordan Battle and Braylen Ingraham.
"The facilities were one of the best I've seen," Steen said. "We watched practice. It was really intense and competitive. We met with the coaches and a lot of the players. He knew some of the players from St. Thomas Aquinas from when he played there and from when Blake (2022) played there."
Steen's father described new Alabama offensive line coach Eric Wolford as "the closer" in our interview prior to the visit. It was a clear message from Coach 'Wolf' this weekend, 'We want you here and and believe you can compete for starting job'.
That's something the Steen family enjoyed hearing from the Alabama staff. Steen wants to earn a starting role wherever he decides to choose. Yes, a position opening helps when it comes to graduate transfers. They do not want to sit behind a veteran.
The plan is to see the field, but Steen doesn't want the position given to him. Coach Wolf made him feel wanted and needed during his first time in Tuscaloosa. He also shared his philosophy on the technical approach to working with his offensive linemen.
"We had a really good time with Wolf," his father said, “he and the OC (Bill O'Brien). Coach Wolf is relentless trying to convince Tyler to come be a part of the Tide. He said something really interesting on blocking techniques. We also compared some things to some of the other places.
"He said that he likes to work more toward the strength of the player. Some techniques might work better for some than they do with others and vice versa. He said that he is going to bring out the technique that is most effective for the player and for the scheme they are running."
Daris said the legends were true regarding their meeting with Coach Nick Saban. He did not want to divulge much detail of the conversations between the Steen family and the seven-time national championship head coach. He described Coach Saban as a "living legend", "very impressive coach" and "can't argue with his success."
Steen attended practices on Friday and Saturday. It was 'intense and very competitive" per Daris. The Steens know what Alabama can do for him on the football field. His father was impressed throughout the visit on what Alabama can provide academically.
"One thing I really liked was their variety of graduate programs," he said. "They have a good amount of programs especially in the school of Business. Academics is always important. Football doesn't last forever. They are going to make sure you are ready for the real world.
"Preparation for the real world started at Vanderbilt, and Alabama can continue that. Alabama, athletically, can get you to the next level with the competitiveness on the field. Some of their players told me some of the practices were tougher than some of the games."
Some consider Alabama the favorite as Steen prepares to announce his new journey. Will he remain in the SEC or join his brother in Charlottesville? His father suspects there is possibly a school starting to pull, but did not speculate or provide further details. That revelation is up to Tyler and he will let all know soon.
"You to have to make sure it's the right fit," Steen said. "It's a life-changing decision especially with him being a graduate student. You have to be in the environment that develops you both academically and athletically. Alabama definitely provides that."