No surprise here. Rolando McClain just announced his decision to skip his final season at Alabama and enter the NFL Draft.
The Decatur High product is expected to go in the first round of the April draft, possibly as high as the top 10.
The decision is hardly a surprise given McClain’s monster junior season that included a Butkus Award, All-American honors. There is also the issue of the rookie salary cap that applies to every incoming class after this season’s draft.
McClain made 105 tackles this fall — 14. 5 were behind the line of scrimmage including two against Texas in the BCS National Championship Game. For video of McClain speaking to reporters after the game, click here.
UPDATE: In other news, Nick Saban told reporters in Tuscaloosa that Tide defensive coordinator Kirby Smart will remain at Alabama. Reports had indicated Georgia made a big-money offer to the Bulldog alum in attempts to bring him back to Athens in the same capacity.
2:50 p.m. UPDATE: Alabama just released a statement about Kirby’s plans to stay that included the following quote from the coordinator:
“I think it was pretty well known that there was an opportunity to return to my alma mater as defensive coordinator. I wouldn’t even have considered discussing the position with any other school, but when it is a place I’ve spent some of my best years and had some great memories, I thought it was something I should discuss with my family and figure out what was best.
“After thinking about all the factors over the last couple days, we are going to stay at the University of Alabama. We love it in Tuscaloosa, have made some great friends here and I think we are building something special here at Alabama with Coach Saban. I have learned so much in the time I’ve spent with Coach Saban, and every year I feel like I become a better coach.
“I’ve got a great deal of respect for Coach Richt and the job he has done there and the University of Georgia will also have a special place in my heart. Not only did I play there, but my wife played basketball there and we have a lot of friends at UGA.
“At the end of the day, I just feel like this is where I am supposed to be and this is a special time to be at the University of Alabama.”
More details to come. Check back in a bit.
(Photo by Gary Cosby Jr./The Decatur Daily)