Winning multiple national titles, creating a dynasty, is always an impressive feat in College Football, with a big chunk of your squad leaving every year. For Nick Saban, this is going to be third off-season in four years in which he has to handle these doubts by filling in the holes left by those graduating and/or leaving to the NFL.
Relatively, The 2012 Alabama team, ending their season with a 42-14 win against Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship, is a pretty young team. Quarterback A.J. McCarron is a Junior, and he has already announced that he’s staying for another year. C.J. Mosley, a Junior linebacker, has also declared he’s staying for his senior year.
Seniors that will be leaving and will undoubtedly be hard to fill in for are guard Chance Warmack, who is projected to go as the first player among Tide guys entering the draft. He is considered as the best interior lineman heading into the draft, and some even consider him to be the best Guard prospect of the last 10 years.
Defensive Tackle Jesse Williams, Tha Monstar, is another definite first rounder, although he is projected to go very late in the first round, considered as the third or fourth best prospect among interior defensive linemen. Center Barrett Jones, a red shirted senior, considered to be the best center going into the 2013 NFL draft, will be going late in the first round or in the second.
There are quite a few more seniors who will probably be finding their way into the NFL in a few months: Safety Robert Lester (projected to go in the third), linebacker Nick Johnson in the third or fourth and tight end Michael Williams, projected to go in the fifth. There are also Quinton Dial (defensive end), Carson Tinker (long snapper), Kelly Johnson (fullback), Damion Square (defensive end) and kicker Jeremy Shelley.
The big questions are three juniors: Dee Milliner, D.J. Fluker and Eddie Lacy. Lacy had an amazing second half of the season and rose to the occasion in the two biggest games: the SEC title game and the National championship, finishing the year with 1322 yards and 17 touchdowns. He refused to discuss his future plans, but is projected to go in the second round if he enters the draft.
Alabama’s top prospect among those mulling their decisions is Dee Milliner, the Junior cornerback. If Milliner decided to enter the draft, and he’s on the verge of making the decision, he’s projected to go in the top 10. Fluker, and right tackle and fourth year Junior who graduated in December will announce his decision in the next 24 hours. He’s also a borderline first round prospect.