What All-SEC Tennessee Vols transfer linebacker Henry To'o To'o brings to Alabama football

James Fletcher
The Tuscaloosa News

Transfer linebacker Henry To'o To'o announced his commitment to Alabama Saturday on social media.

The 6-foot-2 sophomore spent his first two seasons at Tennessee, where he was named a freshman All-American and earned All-SEC recognition.

To'o To'o entered the transfer portal on Jan. 20, two days after Tennessee fired coach Jeremy Pruitt.

The Athletic ranked To'o To'o the third-best transfer in college football, and he was a top-50 recruit in the class of 2019, according to 247Sports.

Here is a look at what he could bring to Alabama:

A proven starter

Tennessee linebacker Henry To'o To'o (11) smiles after making a play during a football game between Tennessee and UAB at Neyland Stadium on Saturday, November 2, 2019.

To'o To'o is a two-year starter in the SEC with 148 career tackles.

He played in 23 games at Tennessee, showing his versatility with 1.5 sacks, five pass deflections and an interception that was returned for a touchdown.

To'o To'o brings more experience to a linebacker corps that includes another two-year starter in Christian Harris and impact freshman Will Anderson Jr.

He will be a sophomore at Alabama because of an NCAA rule allowing an extra year of eligibility due to COVID-19.

Nick Saban's big splash

Nick Saban has made his first big strike in the transfer portal since the new NCAA rules went into place allowing a one-time transfer to all athletes with the ability to play immediately without sitting out a year.

"Now that it is a rule, we're going to adapt to it and make it an advantage for us," Saban said in April.

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To'o To'o joins former Ohio State wide receiver Jameson Williams as the first underclassmen to transfer to Alabama and play without a waiver or redshirt season.

"I think what's going to happen as you see how often in a lot of leagues, you know the good players go to a good team and the bad players leave good teams because they're not playing. So is that going to make the rich get richer? I don't know. You can decide that," Saban said on the impact of the new rule.

Another win against the Vols

To'o To'o was an Alabama recruiting target in 2019 and included the Crimson Tide in his final list of schools before committing to Tennessee.

Pruitt had been a part of the recruiting process for Alabama before leaving for the Tennessee job in 2018.

"One thing that we talked about was that we chose Tennessee the first time when we should have come to Alabama, so let's not make this mistake twice," Iese To'o To'o, the player's father told BamaOnLine.