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    Pauline: Nick Saban reportedly pushing hard for Alabama underclassmen to return to school in 2020

    Tony Pauline, Pro Football Network Draft Analyst and Insider, is hearing that Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban is pushing hard for his underclassmen to return to school in 2020.

    In the latest episode of Pro Football Network’s NFL Draft Insiders podcast with Andy Herman and Tony Pauline, an interesting discussion from 39:30 – 44:05 (podcast player at the end of the article) regarding the Alabama Crimson Tide took place. More specifically, it centered around head coach Nick Saban and how he is pushing hard to re-recruit many of the Alabama underclassmen who are considering declaring the 2020 NFL Draft.

    As someone who has been known to be upfront and honest with his players in prior years, why is he now pushing these underclassmen to come back to school? According to Pauline, PFN Draft Analyst and Insider, the word in scouting circles is that many of the Alabama underclassmen are not getting the high, first-round grades many assumed.

    “Nick Saban is really pushing hard and re-recruiting these guys to come back for another year with the Crimson Tide,” said Pauline on the Draft Insiders podcast. “This shouldn’t be a surprise but part of the reason is this…I’m told the information getting back to these Alabama players – Jerry Jeudy aside and Tua Tagovalioa depending on his injury status – most of these Alabama underclassmen are not being graded as highly as a lot of people think.”

    Pauline said that this could mean that some of the Alabama receivers – except for Jeudy – are likely getting grades that are later than some people expect. This strengthened Pauline’s opinion in that he doesn’t believe that all three of the Crimson Tide wide receivers will go in the first round, despite some media pundits and fans declaring that they will.

    Of course, the three receivers are Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III, and DeVonta Smith. In addition to those three who are considering leaving Alabama, Pauline reported that RB Najee Harris, OT Alex Leatherwood, and RT Jedrick Wills are leaning towards entering the draft.

    After Pauline reported more rumored underclassmen draft declarations from around the college football landscape, co-host Andy Herman circled back to Alabama and noted that if some of these players were to return for their senior season, it would make their team much more potent. Pauline agreed and also talked of how we should pay attention to the fact that Saban is pushing so hard for his guys to return.

    “The interesting thing is that Saban will tell guys that if they get early grades, they should go and take the money,” said Pauline. “Saban is upfront about that and doesn’t try to re-recruit them for his own selfish purposes…he deserves credit in the sense that when it comes time to declare, you hear nothing but good things where he’s got the players’ best interest in mind.

    So when you’re hearing that he’s trying to get these players to come back – especially the fact that they aren’t getting the grades a lot of people thought they would’ve gotten – that is a very interesting aspect.”

    The deadline for underclassmen to make their decision is January 20. From now until then, there will be lots of speculation regarding these Alabama prospects – especially Tagovailoa – and others from around the league. You can stay up to date with the latest rumored underclassmen declarations by visiting and bookmarking our 2020 NFL Draft Underclassmen Declaration Tracker.

    To listen to the discussion between Pauline and Herman regarding Saban and the Crimson Tide, search for PFN Draft Insiders on your favorite podcast player, click here to listen, or hit the player below. The discussion begins at 39:30 and ends at 44:05.

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