TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama cornerback Kareem Jackson is skipping his senior season to enter the NFL draft after the advisory committee projected him as a second-round pick.
Jackson announced his decision Friday — the last day for underclassmen to declare for the draft — but said he still planned to fulfill a promise to his parents and complete his degree.
The three-year starter joins All-America linebacker Rolando McClain in leaving the national champions a year early. The Tide will have only three defensive starters returning, counting linebacker Dont’a Hightower, who missed most of the season with a knee injury.
Jackson had 159 tackles and five interceptions in his career while starting all but one game.
Alabama coach Nick Saban has moved director of player development Jeremy Pruitt into an on-the-field coaching position.
Saban said Friday that Pruitt will work with the defense and fill the spot vacated when linebackers coach James Willis was hired as Texas Tech’s defensive coordinator.
Pruitt is a former Crimson Tide defensive back who joined Saban’s staff in 2007.
He spent three seasons with powerhouse Hoover High School in Hoover, Ala., including two as defensive coordinator.
Pruitt also was a graduate assistant at Alabama in 1997 working under defensive backs coach Curley Hallman.
Robinson to miss games
ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia defensive end Montez Robinson will remain with the team after being arrested last month, but he will miss the first two games of the 2010 season, the school announced Friday.
Robinson, a rising sophomore, was a reserve defensive end last season and made the SEC’s All-Freshman team. He was arrested on charges of simple battery and second-degree criminal damage on Dec. 1.
Robinson reached an informal resolution with the university on the charges last month and will complete anger management courses, but he remained enrolled at the school.
He will also have internal counseling as part of his punishment levied by head coach Mark Richt, according to the school, and will be eligible to return to the field for the Bulldogs’ third game of the season against Arkansas.
Volunteers hire Dooley
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee’s whirlwind search for a new coach ended Friday with the Volunteers hiring Derek Dooley of Louisiana Tech.
The son of former Georgia coach Vince Dooley, Derek Dooley went 17-20 in three seasons at Louisiana Tech and was the only coach in major college football to also serve as his school’s athletic director. He holds a law degree and previously worked for several years under Nick Saban at LSU and with the Miami Dolphins, including as a recruiter for the Tigers. Aside from his pedigree, Tennessee’s attraction to the 41-year-old Dooley includes the time he spent working as an assistant and recruiter for Saban.
Gerhart heads to NFL
STANFORD, Calif. — Heisman Trophy runner-up Toby Gerhart announced Friday that he will enter the NFL draft instead f staying at Stanford for a fifth season.
Gerhart thanked coach Jim Harbaugh, former running backs coach Willie Taggart and his offensive linemen for helping his success this season. He could have stayed for a fifth season because he played just one game in 2007 because of injuries, but opted for the NFL instead.
Gerhart ran for a school-record 1,871 yards and a nation-leading 28 touchdowns this past season.
He won the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s top running back and finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting to Alabama’s Mark Ingram.