Redshirt junior safety Deionte Thompson is leaving for the NFL. He made the announcement on Twitter on Sunday.
“Competing in four straight national championships with the best teammates in college football, earning my bachelor’s degree, and learning and growing with this community has helped me develop as an individual on and off the field,” he wrote. “After careful consideration, many conversations, and through prayer, I’m happy to confirm that I will be entering the 2019 NFL Draft.”
He’s the sixth Alabama player who could have returned for 2019 to turn pro, the most in a season in school history. Five Alabama underclassmen entered the 2018 draft and the 2014 draft.
Thompson broke into the starting lineup during Alabama's postseason in 2017 and became a key player in the secondary this season. He was second on the team with 79 total tackles — 48 solo, 31 assisted, including 3.5 tackles for loss. He had a season-high nine stops against Arkansas back in October.
Thompson also forced four fumbles and recovered one. He grabbed two interceptions and returned them for a combined 65 yards. He broke up six passes overall.
The Associated Press, Sporting News and AFCA selected Thompson as a first-team All-American, making him a consensus pick. He also received first-team All-SEC accolades from the conference coaches and second team from the media.
After redshirting his freshman season, Thompson spent 2016 playing on special teams and rotating in the secondary. He did the same thing the following year until he earned his first career start against Clemson in the Sugar Bowl when former UA defensive back Hootie Jones was sidelined with an injury. Over the course of all that — 43 games — Thompson has made 113 career tackles, defended 10 passes, forced four fumbles and recovered a fumble.
Alabama still returns cornerbacks Trevon Diggs and Patrick Surtain II for their senior and sophomore seasons, respectively. Xavier McKinney, who started alongside Thompson at safety, will also be back. Nickel back Shyheim Carter is expected back for his senior season.
Cornerback Saivion Smith announced he would go pro on Saturday, one day after four other Alabama underclassmen announced they would enter the draft at a news conference on Friday. Thompson's announcement means that six Alabama players have chosen to enter the NFL rather than return for the 2019 season.
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