Alabama players Amari Cooper, Landon Collins, T.J. Yeldon headed to NFL draft _lowres

Associated Press photo by BRYNN ANDERSON -- Alabama coach Nick Saban shakes Landon Collins' hand after Collins announced his decision to enter the NFL draft Friday.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper, safety Landon Collins and tailback T.J. Yeldon are skipping their senior seasons to enter the NFL draft.

All three announced their decisions in a news conference Friday.

Cooper and Collins, both All-Americans, are projected as likely top 10 picks. Draft projections have Yeldon possibly going as high as the second round.

Cooper demolished Alabama records with 124 catches for 1,727 yards and 16 touchdowns. He was a Heisman Trophy finalist and won the Biletnikoff Award as the top receiver.

Collins, a Duthtown High graduate, was a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award given to the nation’s top defensive back. He had a team-high 103 tackles with three interceptions.

Yeldon fell just short of his third straight 1,000-yard season. He ran for 979 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Texas A&M

AGGIES RELEASE QB HILL FROM SCHOLARSHIP: Texas A&M released former starting quarterback Kenny Hill from his athletic scholarship.

Aggies spokesman Alan Cannon confirmed reports of the release Friday but declined comment on media reports that Hill intended to enroll at TCU. A message left with Hill’s father, former major league pitcher Ken Hill, was not returned.

Hill started the first eight games of his sophomore season for the Aggies after a freshman season as understudy to 2012 Heisman winner Johnny Manziel. He beat out freshman Kyle Allen for the job, threw for a school-record 511 yards in his debut and led the Aggies to a 5-0 start.

But A&M dropped the next three and coaches split first-team snaps between Hill and Allen. Hill was then suspended for two games for violating team rules.

Around the nation

UAB plans to employ a firm to review the financial information that led to a decision to shut down the football program. Meanwhile, the Faculty Senate will consider a no-confidence resolution against President Ray Watts in a special meeting Jan. 15. ... Clemson has locked up defensive coordinator Brent Venables through 2018. Clemson’s eight other assistant coaches agreed to two-year deals. ... Michigan State hired Mark Snyder as linebackers coach and special teams coordinator. Snyder was the defensive coordinator at Texas A&M before being fired in November. ... Pittsburgh coach Pat Narduzzi hired FIU defensive coordinator Josh Conklin to the same position. Conklin was a finalist for the Broyles Award this season, given to the top assistant in college football.