Friday, January 11, 2013

The Process Continues: Three Tide Juniors Moving On

As expected, Alabama juniors Eddie Lacy and Dee Milliner both declared themselves eligible for the 2013 NFL Draft. They made their announcements at an 11:00 am Friday news conference in Tuscaloosa.

"From a business standpoint, they're making good decisions," said Alabama coach Nick Saban.

Offensive lineman DJ Fluker was not at the news conference. However, Saban confirmed that Fluker is also entering. He is expected to graduate with his class in May and had the option of returning or moving on. He’s chosen the latter.

Eligible underclassmen have until January 15 to make their decisions. However, they can change their minds after a 72-hour cooling off period.

Many were confident that Milliner and Fluker would declare early, as both are nearly sure-fire first round draft picks. Before the SEC Championship Game and Monday night’s BCS Championship Game, some thought Lacy might return for his senior season. He was hampered by injuries early in the season but when finally fully healthy, he showed enough explosiveness and elusiveness to push his stock much higher.

This is all part of The Process, and it is part of why Saban will always be able to recruit top talent. The best recruits all have NFL aspirations and everyone knows that Alabama represents the best path to the league. Note well that it’s not the easiest, nor is it necessarily the shortest. But if a player comes to Alabama and does what he’s supposed to do, his chances of getting a seven figure Sunday payday are as high as anywhere in the country.

These players were part of the only teams to win back-to-back BCS Championships. No program in the BCS era has done that. With the end of the BCS coming in 2014, no team will ever do so again. These guys made history and gave Alabama fans something to cheer and brag about for decades to come.

So long, gentlemen. Good luck at football’s highest level, and thanks for all of the memories.

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