As expected, Alabama Crimson Tide running back Trent Richardson and defensive back Dre Kirkpatrick are leaving school early to enter the 2012 NFL Draft. Both expressed bittersweet emotions about leaving Alabama. Said Richardson on what he and his contemporaries have accomplished in Tuscaloosa:
To have two national championships in three years is pretty big. To only lose four games since we've been here is big.
Richardson is considered a solid first-rounder, which has otherwise been becoming something of a rarity for modern running backs. Kirkpatrick is also expected to go in the first round. In SBNation.com's latest 2012 mock draft, Kirkpatrick went No. 11 to the Seattle Seahawks and Richardson went No. 21 to the Cincinnati Bengals, along with a host of other Bama players going all over the place.
Coach Nick Saban said both players are committed to returning at some point to finish up their degrees. Richardson has previously said he was torn due to how close he was to graduating.