Nick Saban is finally letting an Alabama player transfer to an SEC rival

The Maurice Smith saga soon could come to an end.

Alabama has granted the defensive back his full release, The Tuscaloosa News reports, removing a huge hurdle in Smith’s apparent quest to join the Georgia Bulldogs. Smith, who already has graduated from Alabama, now will be allowed to transfer within the SEC – if the conference grants him a waiver to do so.

Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban initially balked at the idea of allowing Smith to reunite with Kirby Smart, Alabama’s former defensive coordinator who is entering his first season as Georgia’s head coach. But Saban seemed to hint Wednesday that a resolution was close. From The Tuscaloosa News:

"We have done everything that we can do institutionally to allow the conference to make the decision about whatever they decide is in the best interest of the conference and the SEC rules relative to Maurice Smith," Saban said. "So that is past us now. It is beyond us. We don’t really need to talk about that anymore and I don’t have any other comments to make about it. We’re trying to focus on the guys we have here and what we need to do to help those guys have a chance to be successful."

In eight games last season, Smith recorded 15 tackles and a sack.