2020 NFL Draft: Alabama DB Xavier McKinney, projected first-round pick, leaving Tide early

As Alabama awaits the decision of Tua Tagovailoa on Monday, the list of entrants to the 2020 NFL Draft continues to grow. Star wide receiver Jerry Jeudy made his announcement on Saturday, and on Sunday, Crimson Tide safety Xavier McKinney has declared his intentions to leave for the pros via his Instagram account. 

In 2019, McKinney was Alabama's leading tackler with 95 stops, adding four forced fumbles, three interceptions, three sacks and 5.5 tackles for loss to his impressive single-season stat line. Losing a talent like McKinney is massive blow, but given his first-round grade, it's not unexpected for Alabama fans to see him join the 2020 draft class. 

"Dear Bama Nation," McKinney said in his announcement. "First of all, I would like to thank the man above -- without Him none of this would have been possible. I would also like to thank my family, coaches, friends and loved ones who have stuck with me through the bad an the good along this journey. Making it to this point in my life was not easy, but with hard work and dedication, I was able to persevere through it all."

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I • V • MMXX #rolltideforever

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"I also would like to thank the best university in the world, Alabama, for allowing me to pursue my dreams," McKinney continued. "I was able to make many memories and create bonds that will stay with me forever.

"Now I want to take a moment to give the man that took a chance on me and changed the way I prepare and think on and off the field, Coach Saban. From the time I arrived my freshman year until now, he has made me a better player and pushed me to be the best version of me. I can not thank him enough.

"My time in Tuscaloosa has been special, but I have reached a point in my career where I have to make a decision about my future. With much thought and consideration, I would like to announce that I will be declaring for the 2020 NFL Draft. Roll Tide. P.S. Happy birthday Mom!" 

McKinney is projected to be in the mix in the first round, landing at No. 31 in CBS Sports' Ryan Wilson's latest mock draft. Overall, CBSSports.com has McKinney as the No. 21 ranked prospect in the 2020 class and No. 3 among players at his position. He arrived in Tuscaloosa as a four-star prospect out of Roswell, Ga., and quickly became one of the top performers on Alabama's star-studded defense during his sophomore season in 2018. 

With some players -- like Dylan Moses and Alex Leatherwood -- already announcing their intentions to return for 2020, and others -- McKinney, Jerry Jeudy and more -- declaring for the draft, Alabama fans await the decision of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. According to the man himself, the announcement is coming on Monday. 

CBS Sports Writer

Chip Patterson has spent his young career covering college sports from the Old North State. He's been writing and talking about football and basketball for CBS Sports since 2010. You may have heard him... Full Bio

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