Tide underclassmen decided not to explore options before title game
During the 2015 SEC Media Days, Alabama head coach Nick Saban expressed his desire to see the NFL Draft evaluations for underclassmen pushed back, as he believed his players had been distracted by their grades in the playoff loss to Ohio State.
This season, the Alabama underclassmen eligible for the 2016 NFL Draft decided they would not open their draft grades until the season was over, according to junior tight end O.J. Howard:
“We try to emphasize with our players that if you’re a first-round draft pick, the business decision is you should go out for the draft,” Saban said Tuesday. “If you’re in a position in the draft where you can enhance your value by staying in college, then maybe you shouldn’t go out for the draft.”
Now that the season is over, Howard said he plans to explore his options with his coach and those closest to him before making a final decision on his future. While Howard had less then 400 yards on the season heading into the title game, it's hard to imagine his stock getting any higher following his monster performance Monday night.
“Once I sit down with Coach Saban and my family, Coach will help us make the right decision,” Howard said. “He’s always done that for me since I’ve been here at the university. I’ll sit down with Coach tomorrow, like he said, and we’ll make the right decision."
Howard won't be alone, as a number of Alabama underclassmen have tough decisions to make before the Jan. 18 deadline.