For the Alabama Crimson Tide in his rookie season, Caleb Downs was a revelation.
That was to be expected—as a five-star recruit, he had an amazing background. Gary Downs, his father, was an NFL player for seven years. In the 2023 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts selected Josh Downs, his brother, in the third round. Dre Bly, the two-time Pro Bowl cornerback and Super Bowl champion, is his uncle.
In the 2023 class, Downs was considered the top safety prospect. He lived up to the high expectations placed on him with a rookie season that included 107 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, and two interceptions, earning him the title of SEC Freshman of the Year.
Although Downs was a star for Alabama, he formally chose to use the transfer portal to take his star power elsewhere after Nick Saban announced his retirement.
Now, where to?
Although Downs is now accessible to any coach and university, it’s important to remember that his father recently told 247Sports that a decision will be made soon and that previous relationships will really matter.
Gary Downs said to Steve Wiltfong, “Our time is so short and we don’t have time to look at a lot of unknowns.” “Previous relationships with people must be involved. Knowing that you have to be ready for change, we want to look for a place that is stable, with the same coach and coordinators. He recently turned nineteen. He has a lot on his plate right now. You don’t approach this circumstance with the intention of transferring.”
Georgia and Ohio State are the first two schools that spring to mind as potential landing spots for Downs.
Georgia, in particular, should be a massive factor because Downs hails from Hoschton, Georgia, and UGA’s new defensive coordinator, Travaris Robinson, was one of his primary recruiters at Alabama. Kirby Smart recently plucked Robinson from Alabama and gave him a promotion. Smart also appears to have a good relationship with Downs.
In this case, UGA is unquestionably in the lead and is most likely to prevail in the transfer portal competition. Don’t write Ohio State off, though. Tim Wilton, the defensive back coach for Ohio State, has reportedly already traveled to Georgia to meet with Downs, and the Buckeyes will likely take an aggressive stance when dealing with the safety.
Notably, before Downs committed to Saban and Alabama as a recruit, he was a finalist for both Georgia and Ohio State. Notre Dame was the other finalist he had.