Four Alabama players declare for the 2019 NFL draft

Four Alabama players declare for the 2019 NFL draft

January 11th, 2019 by Associated Press in Breaking News

Alabama football coach Nick Saban, right, speaks at a news conference Friday as, from left, left tackle Jonah Williams, running back Josh Jacobs and defensive tackle Quinnen Williams prepare to announce their intentions to turn pro. Tight end Irv Smith Jr. did not attend the conference but said he will enter the draft as well.

Photo by Kent Gidley/Alabama

Updated at 7:56 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019, with more information.

Alabama junior running back Josh Jacobs, who had 47 rushing yards and 16 receiving yards during Monday night's loss to Clemson in the national title game, announced Friday he would bypass his senior season for the NFL draft.

Alabama junior running back Josh Jacobs, who had...

Photo by Kent Gidley/Alabama

Alabama's football program conducted its annual meeting of future millionaires Friday.

Four Crimson Tide players — running back Josh Jacobs, tight end Irv Smith, left tackle Jonah Williams and defensive tackle Quinnen Williams — announced they would be forgoing their remaining eligibility in Tuscaloosa to make themselves available for the 2019 NFL draft. All four were juniors this past season except Quinnen Williams, who was a redshirt sophomore.

"This is kind of a tradition we've started here for guys who have done an outstanding job for the University of Alabama and representing our football program," coach Nick Saban said in a news conference. "These guys have always been exemplary in all that they've done."

With Friday's four departures, Alabama now has produced 34 underclassmen who have declared early during the Saban era, which began with the 2007 season. Of the previous 30, there have been 17 who have been selected in the first round.

The 2019 NFL draft is April 25-27 in Nashville.

Jacobs, Jonah Williams and Quinnen Williams made their announcements at the news conference. Smith was unable to attend due to the wedding this weekend of fellow Alabama tight end Hale Hentges.

"Trophies will tarnish and rings will rust, but the skills and knowledge I learned at the University of Alabama is something I will take with me for the rest of my life," Smith posted on Twitter.

Smith racked up 44 receptions for 710 yards and seven touchdowns this past season for the Southeastern Conference champions, averaging a healthy 16.1 yards per catch.

Jacobs has been among Alabama's most versatile players under Saban, finishing with with 251 career carries for 1,491 yards (5.9 per rush) and 16 touchdowns, as well as 48 career receptions for 571 yards (11.9) and five scores. He averaged 31.4 yards on 15 kickoff returns this past season.

"This decision was tough for me, even on the ride here," Jacobs said.

Jonah Williams started all 44 games in his career, was a unanimous All-American this past season and was a finalist for the Outland Trophy, given annually to the nation's best interior lineman on either side of the ball. The Outland ultimately was awarded to Quinnen Williams, who erupted from relative obscurity to amass 71 tackles and 19.5 tackles for loss. Jonah Williams did win the Jacobs Blocking Trophy as the SEC's top offensive lineman.

While Jonah Williams was a five-star prospect in Alabama's 2016 signing class and Quinnen Williams a solid four-star recruit, Jacobs and Smith were three-star signees and among the lowest-rated in that Crimson Tide crop.

"This gives our program a tremendous amount of positive recognition when we have guys who have tremendous careers here and go on to be top draft picks," Saban said.

Alabama junior defensive end Raekwon Davis announced earlier this week he will return for his senior season. Junior middle linebacker Mack Wilson and junior safety Deionte Thompson have yet to publicly announce their intentions.

Enos to Miami

Alabama quarterbacks coach Dan Enos, who was in line to replace Mike Locksley as the offensive coordinator for the 2019 season, is instead heading to Miami to become the offensive coordinator for new Hurricanes coach Manny Diaz.

Miami announced the hiring Friday.

"Dan was my primary target for our offensive coordinator position from the outset, and I'm thrilled that he's now a Miami Hurricane," Diaz said in a release. "Dan is one of the most innovative play-callers in college football. He not only has a remarkable track record of coaching quarterbacks but also developing players for the NFL at numerous positions.

"His experience as a head coach will also provide invaluable insight to our entire program."

The move by Enos could impact Alabama backup quarterback Jalen Hurts, who is scheduled to visit both Maryland and Miami this weekend. Enos is the fourth Alabama offensive assistant to leave, joining Locksley, receivers coach Josh Gattis and line coach Brent Key.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.