It’s the annual tradition that serves as a recruiting pitch as much as it is a celebration of Alabama football players choosing to chase their dreams. The message is simple: If you come to Alabama and are good enough, we’ll get you to the NFL.

Of course, that’s not the overt message Nick Saban and five undergraduate players delivered Thursday afternoon when it was announced that Minkah Fitzpatrick, Bo Scarbrough, Ronnie Harrison, Calvin Ridley and Da’Ron Payne were entering their names into the 2018 NFL Draft. But the feeling hung in the air at the press conference, and Saban touted his program’s success at helping underclassmen reach the NFL.

“We’ve had 25 guys go out early for the draft since 2009: 14 of them have been first-round picks, eight of them have been second-round picks, one of them was a third-round pick,” Saban said.

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