Antonio Alfano

Antonio Alfano (56) in the Alabama spring game.

TUSCALOOSA — The mysterious case of Antonio Alfano appears to have some clarity, and a potential exit route, according to his father.

Alabama freshman defensive end Antonio Alfano has requested to enter the NCAA transfer portal to “see what his options are” according to his father, Frank Alfano. In a series of posts on Twitter, Frank Alfano said the former five-star signee from Colonia, N.J., has been going through a difficult time since his grandmother fell gravely ill recently and is on life support.

“He is very close with her,” his father said in his posts, “since this illness took effect, Antonio has taken it very hard. He has not attended classes and practices.”

Alabama head coach Nick Saban announced after last Saturday’s game that Alfano was going through internal discipline, 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.”

Then, on Wednesday evening, when asked for an update, Saban said Alfano had “kind of disappeared a little bit,” and then spoke about how not dealing with mistakes can only compound the problem, leading many to believe Alfano’s time with the program could be coming to an end.

“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,” Saban said Wednesday. “But, I think you compound the problem when you 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.”

Also in his Twitter posts, Alfano’s father said that although his son is in the transfer portal, "he still can decide to remain at the University of Alabama. My opinion is that Antonio should stay at the University of Alabama. However, he’s an adult and it’s his decision. Antonio knows that his family has and will always be there for him.”

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.