Alabama redshirt junior quarterback Mac Jones, a 2020 Heisman Trophy finalist, announced Thursday that he will forgo his senior season in Tuscaloosa and prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft. Jones was joined by wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, defensive back Patrick Surtain II and defensive lineman Christian Barmore as Tide underclassmen who will not return for the 2021 season. This comes just three days after Alabama topped Ohio State 52-24 in the College Football Playoff National Championship.
Jones completed 77.4% of his passes (311 of 402) for 4,500 yards and posted a 203.06 passer rating — all of which led the nation. He finished third in Heisman Trophy voting behind his teammate and winner DeVonta Smith and Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. He is the No. 25 overall prospect and fifth-ranked quarterback in the most recent CBS Sports NFL draft prospect rankings.
Waddle suffered an ankle injury on Oct. 24, but came back during the national title game to get a few snaps. He had 1,999 receiving yards, 17 receiving touchdowns, 733 punt return yards, two punt return touchdowns, 214 kick return yards and one kick return for a touchdown during his three seasons in Tuscaloosa. He is the No. 9 overall player in the 2021 NFL Draft rankings.
Surtain II was a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation’s top defensive back. He had 37 tackles and one interception in 2020, and ended his three-year career with four interceptions and 116 tackles. He is the No. 13 overall and No. 2 cornerback in the latest CBS Sports prospect rankings.
Barmore had five tackles, two for loss and one sack in the national title game vs. Ohio State, and finished his redshirt sophomore season with 9.5 tackles for loss. He is the No. 27 overall prospect and second-ranked defensive lineman in the upcoming draft.
There was a notable player who decided to return to the Crimson Tide too. Defensive lineman Phidarian Mathis announced on Twitter that he will give it another go in Tuscaloosa in 2021. The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft is Monday, Jan. 18.