Jan. 15, 2016
TUSCALOOSA, Ala – Alabama juniors Derrick Henry and A’Shawn Robinson announced they will be forgoing their senior seasons to enter the 2016 NFL Draft in a press conference in the Naylor Stone Media room on Friday afternoon.
Alabama has had 21 players leave early for the NFL under head coach Nick Saban, 13 of which were first-round draft picks with four second-round selections. The 2016 NFL Draft will take place April 28-30 at the Auditorium Theater in Chicago.
Henry, from Yulee, Fla., set SEC records for rushing yards (2,219), rushing touchdowns (28) and carries (395). He won the school’s second Heisman Trophy while also winning the Maxwell Award, the Walter Camp Player of the Year and the Doak Walker Award. Robinson, from Fort Worth, Texas, finished his junior campaign with 46 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, 10 quarterback hurries, two pass breakups and a blocked kick.
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Coach Nick Saban
“How’s everyone today? Good. Well, first of all, I would like to say these two young men here have done an outstanding job on and off the field in the way they’ve represented The University of Alabama. They’ve been great teammates for the other players on the team. They’ve been really good leaders. They’ve set a good example. Both have done things exactly like we’d like in this program from a personal standpoint, an academic standpoint and obviously, they’ve had tremendous success on the football field individually along with contributing to team success, winning a national championship and two SEC titles over the three years they have been here. Obviously, 10-plus win seasons every year is something that we’re extremely proud of and that they’ve both made a tremendous contribution too. As always, when guys have an opportunity like they do, we really encourage them to finish academically. Both of these guys have done a really good job in school and are very close to graduation. I know it’s always a difficult decision for these guys to make a decision about their future, but this is something we try to provide a great program for.
We provide the best information possible, so they can make a very good business decision about their future, and I think both of these guys have done a really good job of doing the due diligence they need to do, so that they can make a decision. We’ve had 20 guys go out early since 2009. Thirteen of them have been first-round draft picks, which we’re really proud of. I think every player, which was really demonstrated at the national championship game out in Phoenix, Ariz., this year when we had over 20 former players that play in the NFL now that were on the sidelines with their team, in the locker room, as if they were a part of the team. These guys know, and it’s a part of our tradition, that we’re very proud of their accomplishments. We’re very concerned about their future. We’re always here to support them and they’re always welcomed here to Alabama and we certainly encourage them to come back and make sure they get their degree. So, with that, I’ll let each of these young men make their announcement. Thank you.”
On his decision:
“I didn’t think it was tough. I think Coach Bo [Davis] and Coach Saban have done everything to prepare me for this situation. I don’t think it was really that tough.”
On delaying the draft grades:
“We were so focused about the season, not the NFL. That will come when it’s time for that. We just know we wanted to accomplish something that we had not accomplished. That was our main focus. Not anything else.”
On coming back to get his degree:
“I plan to graduate. I plan on coming back any chance I get in the offseason.”
On preparing for the draft:
“I worry about what I can control. Like I said, I’ve been working hard. I’ve been thanking God for my opportunities. It’s great. I’m getting better and better every day.”
On his draft grade:
“I got a second round grade.”
On how he made his decision:
“Something I talked about with my family and my coaches for me to make the right decision. This is the right decision right now.”