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Early Departures For Bama, LSU Become Official

Alabama has confirmed the expected news that linebacker Don’ta Hightower, cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and tailback Trent Richardson have declared for the NFL draft.

Richardson, who won the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s top running back, and Hightower were first-team Associated Press All-Americans. Kirkpatrick earned second-team honors.

Safety Robert Lester will be the lone starter returning in Alabama’s secondary. Safety Mark Barron and cornerback DeQuan Menzie will depart as seniors.

LSU cornerback Mo Claiborne and defensive tackle Michael Brockers won’t return for their senior seasons. Both players confirmed at a press conference today that they will declare for the draft.

Claiborne, who won the Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back, was a first-team AP All-American. Brockers was a member of the AP All-SEC second team.

“Both of these guys are great examples of players who developed when they came to LSU,” coach Les Miles said in a statement through the school. “We are really proud of who they are as men.”

LSU is also bracing for the loss of junior wide receivers Rueben Randle and Russell Shepard.

Shea Dixon of Fox Sports/ reported Thursday afternoon via Twitter that Randle has decided to go pro. Joe Schad of reported the same expectation for Shepard.


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