Eddie Lacy showed in Alabama’s national championship blow-out of Notre Dame how dynamic a running back he can be when healthy. Now he — and two others from the title team — are set to showcase that skill set in the NFL.
Lacy, cornerback Dee Milliner and right tackle D.J. Fluker announced Friday their intentions to enter the upcoming NFL draft. Word came in a joint news conference on campus.
“I would like to take this time to honor these young men for the great job that they have done in how they have represented the University of Alabama and their family,” coach Nick Saban said. “They have all been great people, in terms of how they have represented our organization. From a personal character standpoint, these guys have been great representatives and great ambassadors for the University of Alabama and we really appreciate that.”
They are going, in part, because they are likely high draft picks, especially Milliner. He is a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award as the top defensive back in the country, finishing in the top five in passes defended. He is the No. 1 cornerback in Scouts Inc.’s rankings.
“To cap it off with another national championship was one of the best feelings,” Milliner said. “It’s hard to say it’s come to an end. Hopefully on the next level I can continue my success.”
Lacy was hampered by injuries all season but still managed 1,322 yards and 17 touchdowns. He was named offensive MVP of the BCS title game after a dazzling 140 yards and two touchdowns in the Tide’s 42-14 cakewalk.
His story is particularly interesting because he waited two years behind a pair of dynamic Alabama backs: Trent Richardson, a 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist, and 2009 Heisman Award winner Mark Ingram. He is the sixth-ranked draft-eligible running back, according to Scouts Inc.
“It’s been an amazing experience here,” Lacy said. “Now is the right time to make the move to the National Football League.”
Fluker, who started the season on the Outland and Lombardi award watch lists, blocked for six 100-yard rushers this season and a total of 21 in his career at Alabama. The 6-foot-6, 335-pound redshirt junior was part of arguably the best offensive line in college football, producing the school’s first pair of 1,000-yard tailbacks.
“I think, you look through the history of the last four or five years here, the older guys that have been starting for a longer time tend to get more of the accolades and the attention,” Saban said before the BCS title game. “Probably in some ways rightfully so, for what Fluker and Barrett Jones and Chance (Warmack) have done in terms of their starts and their body of work and the long time they’ve been playing.
“I think Anthony Steen and Cyrus are two guys that have played very, very well all year long, and their time is coming. They’re going to be the guys who get featured next year as being the most experienced guys, who have the most starts, who have played with the most consistency, that people will be looking at as guys who probably will receive a lot of accolades.”