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Rumors swirling on Tua Tagovailoa, other draft-eligible juniors potentially returning to Tide in 2020

Butch Dill - USA TODAY Sports

Could the revenge tour meant for this season be for next year? 

Not to get anyone’s hopes up, but there is potential fire coming from the smoke inside the Alabama football program. The smoke comes in the form of rumors and reports swirling on the possibility of Tua Tagovailoa and other draft-eligible juniors returning to school next year. 

According to a report from BamaCentral, Tagovailoa, Henry Ruggs III, DeVonta Smith, Alex Leatherwood and Dylan Moses are strongly considering not turning pro.

Along with these names lies Xavier McKinney, in which the safety is rumored to be 50/50 as to either stay or leave. 

Upon the end of the Iron Bowl versus Auburn, yours truly saw many juniors exit Jordan-Hare Stadium visibly frustrated and not pleased with how the season went. During a press conference he held on last week, Tagovailoa told reporters it would be hard to pass up the opportunity of professional football if he’s considered a top-10 to top-15 pick.

While there are draft analysts considering him as a high first-rounder, others have him from late first to early second-round. 

RELATED: Tua Tagovailoa, Anfernee Jennings among permanent team captains for Alabama

Tagovailoa is currently rehabbing from a dislocated right hip injury. 

Seeing how he was the one who called the team meeting, this could very well set up a situation of settling which players want to return. In reflecting back on the 2017 Clemson team, its entire defensive front – which included Clelin Ferrell, Christian Wilkins, Dexter Lawrence, Austin Bryant and Kendall Joseph – all could have turned pro after losing to Alabama in the College Football Playoff semifinal. The entire group decided to return and ended up winning a national championship in the following season. These names listed for the Crimson Tide could improve their draft value even more by coming back; however, Nick Saban will leave the decision to them. 

When one discusses names that are headed to the NFL Draft regardless, the article states Jerry Jeudy (wide receiver), Najee Harris (running back) and offensive lineman, Jedrick Wills Jr. 

Alabama will play Michigan in the Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1, 2020 in Orlando, Fla. 

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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