Alabama defensive lineman Da'Ron Payne leaving for NFL

By  | 

(AL.com) -- Alabama defensive lineman Da'Ron Payne is entering the NFL draft, sources told AL.com.

The Birmingham native posted 53 tackles, a sack, eight additional quarterback hurries and an interception as a junior this season, including eight tackles and the interception along with a pass breakup in the Tide's two playoff games. He was named the defensive MVP of both the Sugar Bowl and College Football Playoff National Championship.

Alabama strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran raved about Payne before the national championship game, calling him the best he's ever worked with.

"He's the best. He's the best I've seen," Cochran said. "I've never seen a guy hit 385 on the power clean every single year. His first year he hit 365 on the power clean and it was like wow, freshman, that's incredible."

Alabama juniors Calvin Ridley and Bo Scarbrough are also entering the draft, according to AL.com sources. Multiple Alabama players including Minkah Fitzpatrick have yet to announce their draft intentions.