Lacy third Tide junior declaring for NFL draft

Lacy third Tide junior declaring for NFL draft

January 12th, 2013 by David Paschall in Sports - College

Alabama running back Eddie Lacy (42) runs through the tackle of Western Kentucky linebacker Andrew Jackson (4). Lacy has announced he will not return to Alabama for his senior year.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Alabama redshirt junior tailback Eddie Lacy began this past work week earning the offensive MVP honor in Monday night's 42-14 thumping of Notre Dame for the BCS championship.

He concluded it Friday by announcing that he will forgo his final season of college eligibility and enter the NFL draft.

"It has been an amazing experience," Lacy said. "I developed well as a player and as a person here at Alabama. As I look back at the four years, I feel that I have accomplished all of the goals that the team and I set out to accomplish."

Also leaving early for the Crimson Tide are redshirt junior right tackle D.J. Fluker and junior cornerback Dee Milliner. Lacy and Fluker leave with three BCS title rings.

Lacy is Alabama's third junior tailback in as many years to bypass a final season of eligibility, following Mark Ingram in 2011 and Trent Richardson last January. The 6-foot, 220-pounder from Geismar, La., was not nearly as touted as Ingram and Richardson, but he wound up rushing for 1,322 yards, 6.5 yards a carry and 17 touchdowns this past season.

In his final three games against Auburn, Georgia and Notre Dame, Lacy amassed an eye-popping 452 yards. He is the No. 3 junior tailback prospect according to ESPN's Mel Kiper, trailing only North Carolina's Giovani Bernard and South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore.

"Lacy has been a big mover for me," Kiper said. "He looked like Mark Ingram against Georgia."

Ingram and Richardson were first-round selections, but Lacy is expected to go in the second or third round. The 6-6, 355-pound Fluker is also projected as a second- or third-rounder after earning second-team All-American this past season for the 13-1 Tide.

Fluker is Kiper's No. 2 junior tackle prospect behind Texas A&M left tackle Luke Joeckel. Fluker moved up as a result of Aggies junior right tackle Jake Matthews electing to stay for his senior year.

Milliner earned first-team All-America honors after compiling 54 tackles, four tackles for loss, two interceptions, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Kiper has the 6-1, 199-pound Milliner ranked among his top 10 overall prospects.

"He's not brilliant in terms of coverage skills, but he has a physical prowess and will only get better," Kiper said. "He was clearly Bama's best player in the secondary this season."

Should nobody else declare, this will be the second consecutive year in which Alabama will lose three underclassmen to the NFL. Richardson, linebacker Dont'a Hightower and cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick were the three who left last January.

Tide coach Nick Saban expressed much appreciation for the latest trio to leave early.

"They have all been great people in terms of how they have represented our organization," Saban said. "From a personal character standpoint, these guys have been great representatives and great ambassadors for the University of Alabama, and we really appreciate that."

Redshirt sophomore linebacker Adrian Hubbard, who requested information from the NFL's Draft Advisory Board, announced Friday that he will return. Hubbard led the Tide with 11 tackles for loss and seven sacks.

Title parade set

Alabama's football team will be honored next Saturday with a parade in Tuscaloosa. The parade will start at 1:30 p.m. CST at the corner of University Boulevard and Second Avenue.

Saban and his assistants and players from the 2012 team will participate.