Alabama football gains UAB defensive back Jaylen Key from transfer portal

Nick Kelly
The Tuscaloosa News

Alabama football has added its fifth addition from the transfer portal this offseason, and it's an in-state addition.

Jaylen Key, a defensive back from UAB, has committed to the Crimson Tide, he announced Friday on social media.

"Blessed beyond measure," Key wrote on Instagram. "Let's work. #Committed."

Key, who picked Alabama over Florida State and Ole Miss, redshirted in 2018 and has played in four seasons for the Blazers. The safety finished 2022 with 60 tackles, one sack, two forced fumbles, three interceptions and one pass breakup. Against LSU alone, he had 12 tackles.

Key is a 6-foot-2, 210-pound safety from Tallahassee, Florida.

He joins tight end CJ Dippre (Maryland), linebacker Trezmen Marshall (Georgia), quarterback Tyler Buchner (Notre Dame) and cornerback Trey Amos (Louisiana) as Alabama's transfer portal additions in 2023.

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Key adds a veteran to the safety group that has to replace multi-year starters Jordan Battle and DeMarcco Hellams. Both were chosen in the 2023 NFL Draft. Defensive backs Malachi Moore and Kristian Story are two other upperclassmen in the mix for the open safety spots. Freshman Caleb Downs also figures to see playing time early as someone who impressed during the spring.

Perhaps Key can compete for a starting defensive back job, but at the very least, he helps increase depth at a position that is only made better by his experience.

The same goes for Amos joining the cornerbacks. Kool-Aid McKinstry and Terrion Arnold are a solid cornerback duo, and Earl Little Jr. also has potential to be a valuable player this season. But Amos brings in another corner with experience who can compete for playing time while also supplying experienced depth.