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Tide trio rolls into NFL draft

Alabama's Lacy scores a touchdown past Notre Dame's Motta and Jackson during the second quarter of their NCAA BCS National Championship college football game in Miami AP

As expected, two-time defending national champion Alabama has lost a trio of players to the professional ranks.

At a press conference Friday afternoon, running back Eddie Lacy and cornerback Dee Milliner each announced they were taking their multiple BCS title rings and making themselves available for the April NFL draft.  Head coach Nick Saban also confirmed that offensive lineman D.J. Fluker will be entering the draft as well.

“I would like to take this time to honor these young men for the great job that they have done in how they have represented the University of Alabama and their family,” Saban said. “They have all been great people, in terms of how they have represented our organization. From a personal character standpoint, these guys have been great representatives and great ambassadors for the University of Alabama and we really appreciate that.”

The early departures certainly put a dent in the Tide’s returning experience as, all told, they will be losing 79 starts amongst the three players.

None of the three were particularly a surprise, though, as each was strongly rumored to be a heavy lean toward leaving eligibility on the table at season’s end.

Lacy, with 14 starts in 34 career games, led the Tide this season with 1,322 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns on the ground while also adding 22 receptions and two more scores through the air.  Last season, he finished second on the team in rushing, and finishes his Tide career with 2,402 yards and 30 touchdowns.

He was named offensive MVP of the Tide’s evisceration of Notre Dame in the BCS title game earlier in the week, running for 140 yards on 20 carries and scoring both a rushing and receiving touchdown.

“I want to start by thanking the University of Alabama, Coach Saban and Coach Burns, my position coach,” Lacy said. “I want to thank all of my teammates and the teachers and academic staff here at the university; the training staff, Jeff Allen and especially Jeremy Gsell; we put in a lot of time over the years here.

“Of course I want to thank all of the fans. They are great fans. It has been an amazing experience here. I developed well as a player and as a person here at Alabama. As I look back at the four years, I feel that I have accomplished all of the goals that the team and I set out to accomplish.”

All three were first-team All-SEC performers in 2012, while Milliner was also a consensus first-team All-American.  Milliner was one of three Tide players accorded that honor, including linebacker C.J. Mosely — he announced last month that he would be returning for his senior season — as well as senior offensive linemen Barrett Jones and Chance Warmack.

“It’s been a great experience for me in my three years being here,” Milliner said. “I’ve learned a lot of things -not only becoming a better football player, but also becoming a better man. Coach Saban and the coaching staff do a great job of developing players here and helping you out all that they can.

“I’d like to thank all the coaching staff for what they did for me: Coach Pruitt, my defensive backs coach, for all the help and the things that he did for me; the trainers and all the strength coaches, for developing me as a better person and the things that they do; the academic center, for all the help that they gave me in academics, for making me become more of a student-athlete. I’d like to thank all my family for all the love and support they gave me over the years. Without them I don’t know what I’d be doing or where I’d be right now.”

There have now been at least 67 underclassmen who have declared early for the draft, breaking the record of 65 set last year.  There are still four days until the NFL’s deadline for officially filing their early-entry paperwork with the NFL.

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22 Responses to “Tide trio rolls into NFL draft”
  1. timh1955 says: Jan 11, 2013 12:23 PM

    No problem…..There is so much depth on both sides of the ball at Alabama that when one leaves there’s 2 or 3 waiting in line for his position. The second and third teams would be the first team at any other school.

  2. Deb says: Jan 11, 2013 12:23 PM

    We’ll miss them in Tuscaloosa but wish them all the best in the NFL. How I’d love one of them (Barrett Jones, Eddie Lacy???) to wind up in Pittsburgh!!!

  3. kcrobert10 says: Jan 11, 2013 12:53 PM

    Deb you might get lacy but the steelers already have an all pro center that came from an sec powerhouse. Out of the 3 I belive to that milliner will be the best pro. On a final note someone please convince mccarron he is a top 10 pick and if he comes out we here in kc would love to have him under center.

  4. xtremesportsmaniac says: Jan 11, 2013 1:05 PM

    Kc,
    It’s a quarterback thin draft but McCarron is still not a top ten pick.

  5. 1chilla says: Jan 11, 2013 1:05 PM

    Saban a football god he will be right back next season n keep a eye on incoming freshman running back derrick harvey he’s a beast 6’3 245 pound

  6. mungman69 says: Jan 11, 2013 1:15 PM

    I don’t think McCarron is ready for the pros. His girlfriend? Now that’s another story.

  7. be4bama says: Jan 11, 2013 1:23 PM

    1ccilla. His name is Derrick HENRY. He rush for over 12,000 in high school (Florida). Derrick is a real beast just like Lacey. Can’t wait to watch him and TJ Yeldon in the backfield this coming fall.
    ROLL TIDE ROLL

  8. Deb says: Jan 11, 2013 1:27 PM

    @kcroberto …

    Jones has played three different positions on the offensive line, and we had to move Pouncey from center this season to compensate for other injuries. We could use someone with Jones’s versatility. Pittsburgh was known for having some of the best o-lines in the league during past decades, but it’s been the fly in our ointment the last few years. If we could add a star like Jones plus a serious back–and keep our current linemen healthy–that would be money in Haley’s offense.

    As for McCarron, I agree with everyone else: He’s a very good college quarterback. But I don’t see NFL super-stardom in his future. Few quarterbacks have the goods to truly excel at the pro level. That’s why everyone remembers the 1983 draft. It will be the same with the 2012 draft that produced Luck, Griffin, and Russell Wilson. Maybe I’m wrong about McCarron, but with the Tide, he’s in a system that doesn’t put it all on his shoulders.

  9. amosalanzostagg says: Jan 11, 2013 1:34 PM

    Saban doesn’t rebuild, he reloads.

  10. be4bama says: Jan 11, 2013 1:47 PM

    I know AMOS…..I just love it

  11. WingT says: Jan 11, 2013 1:52 PM

    IMO, Eddie Lacy may be better than Trent Richardson or Mark Ingram. The only issue with Lacy is that he has dealt with injuries that limited his playing time. But when he is healthy he is every bit as good a back, if not better than Richardson.

  12. zemaniak says: Jan 11, 2013 2:06 PM

    6’3″ 245lbs RB FRESHMAN?
    Unreal

  13. be4bama says: Jan 11, 2013 2:26 PM

    Mr Henry broke every high school rushing record in the state of Florida which includes Emmett Smith!! Yep he’s a beast.
    ROLL TIDE

  14. normtide says: Jan 11, 2013 3:40 PM

    I want to say thank you to these kids. I look forward to following them on Sundays. Roll Tide.

  15. canetic says: Jan 11, 2013 3:42 PM

    In related news, Manti Teo suddenly wants to go back to ND for another year.

  16. canehouse says: Jan 11, 2013 4:28 PM

    Derrick Henry might end up as TE or OLB / DE… By the time he fully matures and the strength & conditioning, and training table at Bama… He could be 265, 270 pounds. Would probably have a longer more fruitful NFL career if he doesn’t play RB. Either way he is a super creature!!!

  17. florida727 says: Jan 11, 2013 5:09 PM

    canetic says: Jan 11, 2013 3:42 PM
    In related news, Manti Te’o suddenly wants to go back to ND for another year.

    ——————————————————–

    #canetic, thanks for the post. Funniest of the day. I’m still laughing. Man, did Te’o spend a lot of money on Monday night.

  18. bamasleeper13 says: Jan 11, 2013 5:25 PM

    We need Lacy in Green Bay! Thanks to all of these guys and for how they have represented the University. Best of everything at the next level! You guys are the best! ROLL TIDE!!

  19. imaduffer says: Jan 11, 2013 6:11 PM

    Why would these guys want to take a pay cut?

  20. timh1955 says: Jan 11, 2013 6:24 PM

    @imaduffer

    Very mature comment! Did you hear that during recess at school today?

  21. be4bama says: Jan 11, 2013 7:07 PM

    Duff those true 4 and 5 star recruits are begging to go to the NFL University……I mean The University of Alabama.

  22. imaduffer says: Jan 11, 2013 9:33 PM

    @Timmy

    No, I read those comments inside the janitors closet. You forgot to lock the door.

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