Three Alabama football stars are heading to the NFL early.
Junior quarterback Bryce Young and junior linebacker Will Anderson officially declared for the 2023 NFL Draft on Monday. Junior running back Jahmyr Gibbs will also depart from Tuscaloosa with his sights set on the NFL.
Young and Anderson are expected to be selected near the top of the draft, potentially both in the top five. Gibbs is currently projected to go late in the first round or in the second.
Alabama’s season didn’t live up to Nick Saban’s usual expectations, as the Crimson Tide finished 11-2 after a dominant win over Kansas State in the Sugar Bowl on Saturday. Young finished the game with 321 passing yards and five touchdowns.
Young, who turns 22 in July, could be the top pick in April’s draft. He won the Heisman Trophy in 2021, his first season as Alabama’s starting quarterback. Young finished his college career with 80 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 27 starts.
Talent isn’t the question for Young, though – it’s his size. At 6-foot, 194 pounds, there will be durability questions as the draft inches closer. Kyler Murray, at 5-foot-10, was the first pick in 2019, which could bode well for Young.
Anderson, along with Georgia’s Jalen Carter, is one of the top defensive prospects in the 2023 draft class. He finished fifth in Heisman Trophy voting in 2021 before a less-productive 2022 season. The 6-foot-4 outside linebacker had 34.5 sacks and 58.5 tackles for loss in 41 career games at Alabama.
After playing his first two seasons at Georgia Tech, Gibbs transferred to Alabama for the 2022 season. He reached a career-high in rushing yards (926), yards per rush (6.1), rushing touchdowns (7) and receptions (44).
The three underclassmen were all expected to leave considering their draft stock. Entering Week 18 of the 2022 NFL season, the top five picks are held by the Houston Texans, Chicago Bears, Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals and Indianapolis Colts.