Four Tide Juniors Enter NFL Draft

As expected, four Alabama football players who would have been eligible to play for the Tide in 2014, but who were also eligible to enter the NFL draft, have announced that they will forego that final year of college in hopes of making it in professional football.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban gave his appreciation to the players and said "We want everyone to know that we support each and every one of these guys in what they aspire to do because they have done such a wonderful job for us. We certainly appreciate all they have done."

Both safety HaHa Clinton-Dix and offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio were first team All-America players in 2013 and both have been given first round grades – the NFL projections that are provided to schools. They are joined in leaving early by defensive lineman Jeoffrey Pagan, who said he is projected as either second or third round, and by linebacker Adrian Hubbard, who said he received grades of second, third, and fourth round.

Saban said, "I'd like to commend these young men who have had a fantastic career here at The University of Alabama. They've done a wonderful job representing this institution, themselves, and this football program. They've been a part of winning two national championships, 10-win seasons each year they have been here, and always been ranked in the top 10.

"Not only have they done well on the football field, but Adrian has already graduated and each of the other guys who have only been here three years are on track to graduate.

"I know it's difficult for each and everyone of them to make decisions. They all love The University of Alabama. They have to make a business decision about their future, what is best for their future.

"We've had 13 guys go out early for the draft. Eleven were first round draft picks, one was a second, and one was a third. The first year we were here Glen Coffee did

"These players are always going to be a part of the Alabama tradition, they are always going to be a part of the Alabama football family because they have done just a marvelous job in their careers here of being great ambassadors for this university and for our football program, and we certainly appreciate them more than you know for all they have done in terms of helping us be successful here on and off the field. They have also provided great leadership for our players."

The players thanked Saban and the coaching staff and support staff, their teammates, and Alabama fans.

In addition to his teammates, Clinton-Dix said that he wanted to thank "the players who came here before me and set the standard."

Hubbard said that Saban promised him when he came to Alabama that education would come first "and I graduated in three and a half years with a degree in business management."

Kouandjio said that it was a very difficult decision to leave, in part because he will be leaving his brother, offensive guard Arie Kouandjio. The two played alongside one another in 2013 on the left side of the offensive line.

Pagan's appreciation to the "Bama nation" included, "Without y'all, there would be no us."

The deadline for declaring for the NFL draft, which is in April, is Jan. 15.

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