Alabama Crimson Tide linemen Evan Neal, Phidarian Mathis enter NFL draft

Alabama will be without arguably its best lineman on each side of the ball next season.

Offensive tackle Evan Neal, a projected top-five pick, announced on Thursday that he will forgo his senior season and declare for the NFL draft.

His decision comes less than 24 hours after defensive lineman Phidarian Mathis, a top-10 player at his position, said Wednesday that he would be turning pro.

An unusually athletic 360-pound left tackle, Neal accounted for a team-high 30 knockdown blocks during the regular season and earned All-American honors.

ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. lists Neal, a junior, as his top offensive tackle and third best prospect overall.

Mathis, who had 12 tackles for loss and nine sacks this season, is the No. 5 defensive tackle in the draft, according to Kiper.

A senior from Louisiana, Mathis could have played one more year in college by using the free year of eligibility afforded to athletes because of COVID-19 disruptions in 2020, but he chose instead to declare for the draft in a message he posted to Twitter.

Outside linebacker and former All-SEC selection Christopher Allen signed with an agent this week, signaling his intent to enter the draft.

A senior, Allen was injured during Alabama's season opener against Miami and did not play the rest of the 2021 season.