Yesterday it was reported that, as had been expected throughout the season, three prominent members of the Alabama football program would be leaving eligibility on the table for a shot at the pros. Today, that’s come to fruition.
At a press conference Friday, safety Landon Collins, wide receiver Amari Cooper and running back T.J. Yeldon announced that they will be forgoing their senior season to enter the 2015 NFL Draft. According to the school, Alabama has had 18 players leave early under head coach Nick Saban, 12 of whom were first-round draft picks.
Collins and Cooper are expected to be high first-round picks, while Yeldon may go as high as the second round.
Cooper will enter the draft coming off a season in which set a slew of records, recording 124 receptions (first nationally) for 1,727 yards (second) and 16 receiving touchdowns (second) on his way to unanimous All-American status. The receptions and yards are single-season UA records, while the catches are the most in SEC history and the yards the second-most for the conference.
The 2014 Biletnikoff Award winner is viewed as a potential, or even likely, Top-10 pick.
Collins is generally viewed as the top player at his position in draft projections and is viewed by some as a likely Top-10 selection. In leading the Tide in tackles (102) and tying for the team lead in interceptions (three), Collins was named as a Thorpe and Nagurski finalist. After starting nine games as a second-team All-SEC performer in 2013, Collins was named first-team all-conference in starting all 14 games for the Tide this season.
Yeldon finished second on the Tide in rushing (979 yards) and tied for the team lead in rushing touchdowns (11). His 3,322 rushing yards are fourth in school history while his 37 rushing touchdowns are third.