TUSCALOOSA, Alabama – Trey DePriest could be in the NFL right now, but he opted to return to Alabama for one more season.
The inside linebacker has another year to improve his draft stock, which is already in a pretty good spot as he eyes a senior season in which he’s expected to be one of the Crimson Tide’s top leaders.
In ESPN NFL Draft expert Mel Kiper Jr.’s early position rankings, DePriest ranked fifth among senior inside linebackers. Two SEC players sit at the top, as Georgia’s Ramik Wilson and Tennessee’s A.J. Johnson are Nos. 1 and 2, respectively.
DePriest has been one of Alabama’s most productive defensive players over the past two seasons. After flashing on special teams as a freshman, DePriest emerged as a regular starter in a three-man rotation at inside linebacker in 2012. He was a mainstay next to C.J. Mosley in 2013, piling up 65 tackles — 7.5 of which went for a loss — an interception, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
Kiper Jr. likes DePriest’s reliability.
A smart, experienced player with good size and strength, DePriest doesn’t dominate in any one area but is solid across the board.
In December, as DePriest mulled his options, Mosley predicted big things for his teammate in 2014.
“If he comes back like I did, he’ll evolve into that every down linebacker role so people will be able to see his true talents,” Mosley said.
DePriest didn’t provide much drama, as he announced his intention to return in the days leading up to the Sugar Bowl.
“I’m just blessed to have a lot of experience,” DePriest said in March. “I’ve played for awhile. So I’m just trying to help out where I can.”