Former No. 5 overall prospect of Alabama’s 2019 recruiting class, Antonio Alfano, is making the news yet again. It seems as though chaos continues to follow him as he has now been suspended indefinitely from the Colorado Buffaloes. Newly assigned head coach Karl Dorrell recently announced that this decision came due to violating team rules. Specific details of those violations have not yet surfaced.
According to Colorado head coach Karl Dorrell, DL Antonio Alfano, a transfer from Alabama "has been suspended indefinitely for violation of team rules.” Alfano arrived on campus in January. #cubuffs— Brian Howell (@BrianHowell33) March 9, 2020
Just to refresh your memory, Alfano was the No.1 strong side defensive end who, for the lack of better terms, went AWOL during fall camp while with the Crimson Tide in 2019. After months of speculation and mystery, the prized recruit decided to enter the ever popular transfer portal. This would lead him to join then head Coach Mel Tucker at the University of Colorado. After settling into his new surroundings, Alfano offered some small insight as to his departure and his unique situation, “It was just a trying time for me being down there (Tuscaloosa). I was kind of also a little frustrated, honestly, with not seeing as much playing time as I would like. I was a little frustrated with that and stuff going on back home. That just made my decision easier.”
There has to be more to the story than an issue of playing time. After all, how can playing time be a factor when the only experience he had was as an early enrollee in the spring? He didn’t compete in any preseason or fall activities. So, what is the real issue here? Now, in the midst of whatever internal battle he is facing, he may never compete at yet another school. So, what is the real catalyst? One could argue from the first chapter of this ongoing drama, the severity of his grandmother’s health played a major factor in Alfano’s behavior. However, I can’t help but feel that there’s something more beyond the surface.
If Alfano is going through a personal storm, why is no help being offered? Well, actually, it has. “We tried to encourage him; we tried to help him. We had tried to set up counseling sessions with him to help him every way we could,” Nick Saban said of Alfano while at Alabama. Nick Saban exhausts all resources to aid any player that needs him. As a matter of fact, an oddly similar instance happened with former 5-star linebacker Eyabi Anoma. He too was facing difficulty and would pull disappearing acts himself. As a matter of fact, he entered the transfer portal not once, but twice. Ultimately, Anoma entered the portal a final time, eventually landing with the Houston Cougars. He too had some turmoil occurring with family and led many to suggest that was his reason for leaving. For the most part, his behavior was a mystery as well. Fast forward a season later, Anoma was ousted for violating team rules.
It’s both frustrating and sad to hear news about such a talented young man as Alfano. We’ve all heard of countless stories that are so similar. Some seek help, overcome their demons, and are able to lead successful lives on the field. Unfortunately, they are the exception rather than the rule. The problem lies not in making mistakes, but rather from never confronting them. Mistakes can’t be atoned for if they are never faced head on.“Everyone makes mistakes. I think you compound the problem when you don’t confront the mistakes you make and you create greater consequences for yourself,” Nick Saban when asked about Alfano. Please don’t misinterpret what I’m saying. I’m not trying to minimize what personal hell Antonio Alfano may be going through. My prayer and hope is that he seeks help. However, it’s not just that he seeks help, but he will receive it. He may never come back to Alabama or Colorado, but as a fan of football and the human spirit, I certainly hope this isn’t the last we hear of Alfano on the gridiron.
I am a 2003 graduate from the University of Alabama with a degree in Exercise Science. While at the Capstone, I served as a student assistant with the head strength and conditioning coach of the Crimson Tide football team. I have competed in both powerlifting and bodybuilding for several years. In addition, I have served athletes and people through the arena of personal training. Jesus is my Lord and Savior. I am a passionate fan of Alabama, but do not make other fan bases miserable because of it. College football has my heart first, but I cover all areas of sports. Follow me on Twitter: @justinriley7!