Five Alabama Juniors Declare for 2018 NFL Draft
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama juniors Minkah Fitzpatrick, Ronnie Harrison and Bo Scarbrough announced at a press conference Thursday afternoon that they will forego their senior seasons to enter the 2018 NFL Draft. The announcements come one day after teammates Calvin Ridley and Da'Ron Payne announced they would be turning pro as well.
Alabama has now had 28 players leave early for the NFL under head coach Nick Saban, 14 of the previous 23 were first round picks while four were second-round selections. The 2018 NFL Draft will take place April 26-28 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Fitzpatrick won the Jim Thorpe and Chuck Bednarik awards in 2017. The Old Bridge, N.J., native ends his career as the Alabama career leader in interception returns for touchdowns with four, including a school-record two in one game against Texas A&M in 2015. This season he finished as the Tide’s fourth-leading tackler with 60 stops and added 8.0 tackles for loss (-31 yards), 1.5 sacks (-15 yards), eight pass breakups, three quarterback hurries, one interception, a forced fumble and a blocked kick.
Harrison was the Tide’s leading tackler this season with 74 total stops. The Tallahassee, Fla., native also added 4.5 tackles for loss (-23 yards), 2.5 sacks (-18 yards), three interceptions and four pass breakups.
Payne earned Defensive MVP honors at the Allstate Sugar Bowl and the College Football Playoff National Championship Game to help lead the Tide to its 17th national championship this season. He recorded an interception and a touchdown reception against Clemson in the Sugar Bowl to help seal UA’s 24-6 win over the No. 1-ranked Tigers. The Birmingham, Ala., native finished 2017 with 53 tackles, one tackle for a loss (-7 yards), one sack (-7 yards), three pass breakups, a team-high eight quarterback hurries, one fumble recovery and one interception.
Ridley ends his career as one of the top receivers in Alabama history. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native ranks No. 2 all-time at UA in receptions (224) and touchdown receptions (19) and third in receiving yards (2,749) and 100-yard receiving games (8). Ridley also caught at least one pass in all 43 games of his career at Alabama, which was the third-longest active streak in the NCAA at the end of the 2017 season.
Scarbrough rushed for 596 yards and eight touchdowns on 124 carries this season and ends his career with 1,512 yards on the ground for the Tide to rank 30th on Alabama’s career rushing chart. The Northport, Ala., native’s 337 yards rushing in six College Football Playoff games is the most by a Tide back in CFP play.