Antonio Alfano could have been the next star defensive lineman for Nick Saban’s Alabama defense. Instead, he’s currently a member of Mel Tucker’s Colorado program and hoping to receive a waiver to play in 2020.

Rated as a five-star recruit in the 2019 recruiting cycle, Alfano was the top prospect from the state of New Jersey and the No. 5 overall prospect in the nation when he signed with Alabama.

He was an early enrollee in Tuscaloosa and after immediately putting in the work to grow bigger and stronger, he showcased his talent in his first Alabama spring game as he registered two sacks in his debut in Crimson and White.

A few months later, Alfano was gone.

According to Saban, Alfano just up and left the program.

“I just know the guy basically quit. He quit going to class, he quit coming here (the football building),” Saban said during the offseason.

“Everyone makes mistakes,” Saban later said when again asked about Alfano. “I think you compound the problem when you don’t confront the mistakes you make and you create greater consequences for yourself.”

Now Alfano is willing to shed some light on why he left Alabama. According to the touted defensive lineman, the declining health of his grandmother in New Jersey really took a toll on him, which just compounded his homesickness in Tuscaloosa.

“It was just a trying time for me being down there,” Alfano recently said to Brian Howell of the Denver Post. “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.”

Alfano then explained why Colorado, ran by former Saban assistant Mel Tucker, was the right fight for him moving forward.

“One of the first schools to contact me was CU, and it was actually coach Tucker,” Alfano said. “It was kind of like a no-brainer. There’s no other coach that I have as good of a relationship with than coach Tucker. When I was a sophomore in high school, he was at Georgia. I just remember him always talking to me. I was calling him because I always thought he was a really cool guy, real down to earth.”

Now Alfano and Colorado await to find out if the NCAA will grant him a waiver to play immediately next season. If not, he’ll be forced to sit out the season per NCAA transfer rules. Either way, he seems to be at peace with his decision to leave Alabama entering his second year in college.