9:32 AM ET
Alex ScarboroughESPN Staff Writer
- Covers the SEC.
- Joined ESPN in 2012.
- Graduate of Auburn University.
Alabama will be without arguably its best lineman on each side of the ball next season.
Offensive tackle Evan Neal, a projected top-five pick, announced on Thursday that he will forgo his senior season and declare for the NFL draft.
His decision comes less than 24 hours after defensive lineman Phidarian Mathis, a top-10 player at his position, said Wednesday that he would be turning pro.
An unusually athletic 360-pound left tackle, Neal accounted for a team-high 30 knockdown blocks during the regular season and earned All-American honors.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. lists Neal, a junior, as his top offensive tackle and third best prospect overall.
Mathis, who had 12 tackles for loss and nine sacks this season, is the No. 5 defensive tackle in the draft, according to Kiper.
A senior from Louisiana, Mathis could have played one more year in college by using the free year of eligibility afforded to athletes because of COVID-19 disruptions in 2020, but he chose instead to declare for the draft in a message he posted to Twitter.
Outside linebacker and former All-SEC selection Christopher Allen signed with an agent this week, signaling his intent to enter the draft.
A senior, Allen was injured during Alabama’s season opener against Miami and did not play the rest of the 2021 season.