Antonio Alfano

Alabama defensive end Antonio Alfano during preseason practice. Content Exchange

TUSCALOOSA — Antonio Alfano was one of the prized gems of Alabama’s 2019 signing class when he signed in December.

Now, nine months later, he could be the latest former five-star signee to leave the Crimson Tide program after a prolonged absence from the team hit a crescendo Wednesday.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban announced the Colonia, N.J., native has “kind of disappeared a little bit,” after being held out of Saturday’s 62-10 win over New Mexico State for disciplinary purposes.

When asked about an update on Alfano’s status, Saban was both vague and revealing in his response.

“Not really. You know he’s kind of disappeared a little bit,” Saban said Wednesday, choosing his words carefully. “I talked to our team today about the fact that people make mistakes — we all make mistakes, I make mistakes, probably everybody in this room makes mistakes — we make mistakes as parents, we make mistakes as coaches, we make mistakes in just about everything that we do.

“But I think you compound the problem when don’t confront those mistakes that you make and create greater consequences for yourself because of the choices and decisions that you make after you make the mistake. So hopefully this will be a learning experience for all the guys on our team.”

Saban confirmed Alfano was facing internal discipline following Saturday’s game, adding there was an “academic” element to his punishment, and that he needed to be “responsible and accountable to do what he’s supposed to do like every other player on the team.”

“He’s going through some discipline things with me, so, you know, if he does what he’s supposed to do — I’m not going to tell you what, whether it’s academic, which that has something to do with it — and being responsible and accountable to do what he’s supposed to do like every other player on the team,” Saban said Saturday. “We want to get him right, we want to help him, we want to help him do the right things. But he has to make those choices and decisions too.”

Alfano enrolled in January after signing as the nation’s No. 1 strong-side defensive end and the No. 5 overall prospect in the class, according to the composite rankings. Despite his accolades, Alfano struggled to climb into Alabama’s two-deep throughout preseason practice and hasn’t appeared in a game this season.

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