The school announce it will hold a “media availability” at noon involving “Alabama head coach Nick Saban and select members of the Crimson Tide football team.”
Which players show up and what they’ll say is uncertain, but the the NFL draft status of the Tide’s junior crop is the likely topic as news reports continue to stream in.
A day after Barry Sanders told an Oklahoma website that Mark Ingram was going pro, the Birmingham News reported defensive end Marcell Dareus’ guardian said he was heading to the NFL too.
After Saturday’s 49-7 beating of Michigan State in the Capital One Bowl, Dareus didn’t have much to say about his future.
“I don’t know yet,” he quietly said when reporters pressed for details.
The greatest mystery surrounds receiver Julio Jones who would be on the bubble of the range Nick Saban would advise those entering the draft. ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. projects Jones as the No. 14 selection while Saban said last month that the impending NFL labor troubles led him to advise only juniors who’ll go in the top half of the 32-pick first round should take the leap.
The other two possible long shots for leaving early include linebacker Dont’a Hightower and safety Mark Barron.
Advising juniors to make the best decision regarding the draft is difficult, Saban said in December.
“Every guy is different,” he said. “We try to help the guys. We try to help the families. We’ve been on home visits with everybody and talk to their families as much as them. We try to get as much good information as we can for them from various NFL teams as to where they might get picked in the draft.”
Last year, only linebacker Rolando McClain and safety Kareem Jackson left early for the draft.
Michael Casagrande covers University of Alabama sports for The Star.