In three moves that were all fairly predictable, the Alabama Crimson Tide will be losing three star underclassmen from their 2013 BCS National Championship-winning squad. Running back Eddie Lacy, cornerback Dee Milliner and offensive lineman DJ Fluker will all be entering the 2013 NFL Draft, according to TideNation. All three young men are expected to be selected as first- or second-round picks.
“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,” coach Nick 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 title game’s Offensive MVP, Eddie Lacy, completed his junior campaign with 1,322 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns. He only got stronger as the year progressed, rushing for 181 yards in the Tide’s SEC Championship game win over Georgia and 140 more against Notre Dame’s vaunted defensive front in the title game.
After waiting two years behind Heisman winner Mark Ingram and the No. 3-overall selection in last year’s draft, Lacy is excited for his opportunity to play at the next level.
“It’s been an amazing experience here,” Lacy said. “Now is the right time to make the move to the National Football League.”
Milliner is considered the premier cornerback in the nation, having rounded out his junior year in the top five in passes defended and as a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, presented annually to the nation’s top defensive back. He has extremely mixed feelings about leaving Tuscaloosa.
“To cap it off with another national championship was one of the best feelings,” Milliner said. “It’s hard to say it’s come to an end. Hopefully on the next level I can continue my success.”
Finally, Fluker, at 6-foot-6 and 335 pounds, absolutely dominated at Alabama, leading the way for the program’s very first pair of 1,000-yard rushers. He is expected to start right away in the NFL. He will be heading to the next level along with linemates Barrett Jones and Chance Warmack, leaving only two returning starters on an offensive line that was one of the best folks had ever seen at the collegiate level.
Saban, however, is confident in the abilities of those sticking around.
“I think, you look through the history of the last four or five years here, the older guys that have been starting for a longer time tend to get more of the accolades and the attention,” Saban said before the BCS title game. “Probably in some ways rightfully so, for what Fluker and Barrett Jones and Chance (Warmack) have done in terms of their starts and their body of work and the long time they’ve been playing.
“I think Anthony Steen and Cyrus are two guys that have played very, very well all year long, and their time is coming. They’re going to be the guys who get featured next year as being the most experienced guys, who have the most starts, who have played with the most consistency, that people will be looking at as guys who probably will receive a lot of accolades.”
All three have represented the Alabama Crimson Tide with class and aplomb in their time with the program, winning two national championships in their time at school.