(TUSCALOOSA, Ala.) — After winning a national title on Monday, Alabama will lose three of its underclassmen to the NFL Draft.
Linebacker Dont’a Hightower, running back Trent Richardson and cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick announced Thursday they’re leaving Alabama in an effort to turn pro.
Running back Trent Richardson was one of this year’s Heisman Trophy finalists.
“It is a sad time and at the same time it is a happy time,” said Richardson. “I am going to leave here and try and represent Alabama in a Class-A way going into the draft this year.”
With three major contributors to Alabama’s title run gone, head coach Nick Saban will have some work to do in recruiting new talent to Tuscaloosa if he has any chance at making another run next year.
“They’ve been great ambassadors and great representatives for the University of Alabama,” said Saban. “I know they will continue to be the same kind of ambassadors for the University and everything that they do in the future.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN Newswire
Jill Martin, CNN