A’Shawn Robinson’s production as a junior resulted in him being named a consensus first-team All-American and was a big reason why Alabama captured its 16th national title. And while the mammoth defensive lineman undoubtedly could help the Crimson Tide in its quest to repeat, coach Nick Saban advised him to take his career to the next level.
During a conversation with SiriusXM Radio on Wednesday, Robinson said he thought about returning for his senior year, but Saban told him it would be best to enter the NFL draft. The former five-star recruit officially declared for the draft on Jan. 15.
Saban’s message to rising seniors has remained consistent during his time in Tuscaloosa: If players receive a first-round grade, he encourages them to leave school. This recommendation extends to running backs who garner second-round grades because of how much wear and tear their bodies endure.
In addition to Robinson, Julio Jones, Rolando McClain, Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson and 2015 Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry are among the Alabama players to forgo their senior campaigns in the Saban era.
CBS Sports pegs Robinson as the No. 17 overall player and No. 2 defensive tackle in the 2016 class. The 6-foot-4, 307-pounder tallied 46 tackles (7.5 for loss) and 3.5 sacks in 2015.