Chris Kirschner/SEC Country
Alabama running back Damien Harris will reportedly stay for his senior season.

Alabama football: 4 draft-eligible Alabama players make their futures known

Matt Speakman

Alabama football drives the conversation here at the Rammer Jammer, SEC Country’s daily Alabama athletics recap, but we’ll cover news for every facet of the Crimson Tide. Every morning, we’ll be here for the latest on Alabama football, basketball and every other sport on campus.

Deciding their futures

With the season coming to a close, Alabama players are deciding whether to stay or go. As per usual, Alabama has multiple players who could enter the NFL draft as juniors and be selected. On Wednesday, wide receiver Calvin Ridley became the first Alabama player to officially declare for the draftRidley, second in career receiving yards at Alabama, is projected as a first-round selection by many experts, including Mel Kiper of ESPN.

Along with Ridley, defensive lineman Da’Ron Payne and running back Bo Scabrough will both declare according to reports, but neither has officially announced. Payne had a dominant postseason that included an interception and his first career touchdown reception. Scarbrough rushed for 596 yards and 8 touchdowns.

Alabama also got some unexpected good news. Running back Damien Harris will reportedly stay for his senior season. Harris rushed for 1,000 yards or more in each of the last two seasons. This season, he gained exactly 1,000 yards on 135 carries (a 7.4 yards per carry average) and had 11 touchdowns.

In other headlines…

Missing the final play

Many couldn’t believe their eyes when quarterback Tua Tagovailoa threw 41-yard strike to wide receiver DeVonta Smith for the game-winning touchdown against Georgia. The play call was actually Tagovailoa’s favorite in high school. It was the must-see play for the 2017-18 college football season. For Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, it’s a play he won’t have a memory of, because he was using the restroom during it.

Praising the freshman quarterback

Praise continues to roll in for Tagovailoa after his performance against Georgia. Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota, who went to the same high school as Tagovailoa, recognized his efforts, calling him a stud and saying he was proud of the young quarterback.

Calling out the champs

Central Florida has made plenty of headlines since defeating Auburn in the Peach Bowl, but none bigger than its declaration that the Knights are the true national champions of college football. The logic goes that since Auburn beat both Alabama and Georgia, and UCF in turn beat the Tigers, the Knights are the champ. Part of the claim obviously comes from the fact that UCF wasn’t invited to the College Football Playoff, denying it a shot at the Tide and Bulldogs. After the Crimson Tide’s win, UCF put a billboard up in Tuscaloosa challenging Alabama to a home-and-home series.

It’s not very likely that UCF and Alabama will play anytime soon, but two experts weighed in on what would happen if they did.

Around the Capstone

Alabama men’s tennis added athletes Riccardo Roberto and Jeremy Gschwendtner to its roster.

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