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Alabama Football: NFL Dreams Crushed for Tide's Undrafted Free Agents

Jimmy McMurreyAnalyst IISeptember 6, 2012

Alabama Football: NFL Dreams Crushed for Tide's Undrafted Free Agents

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    Many of Alabama's stars from yesterday will go on to enjoy great NFL careers, but several memorable names have seen their chance in the NFL come and go.

    By the end of August, all of the undrafted free agents from Alabama's class of 2012 were waived. None of them made a final 53-man roster for their respective teams. 

    Their NFL dreams may not have worked out, but they can always rest easy knowing that their national championship dreams came true—twice for some of them.

    Here's a look at those young men. 

Linebacker Jerrell Harris

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    Team: Atlanta Falcons

    Status: Waived

    Jerrell Harris served as the Tide's "Sam" linebacker all through the 2011 season. 

    He was waived just days after former Alabama quarterback, John Park Wilson, was. Wilson had been a backup for the Falcons since 2009.

    Harris finished the 2011 season with 29 tackles, 3.5 for loss.

    The Falcons had a significant need for an outside linebacker but Harris was cut on August 31.

Guard Alfred McCullough

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    Team: Baltimore Ravens, Philadelphia Eagles

    Status: Waived

    Alfred McCullough served as a backup lineman, whose career and abilities became so diverse that he was able to play anywhere on the Tide's offensive line.

    He didn't start a game until late in his 2011 senior year but he made the most of it.

    The NFL often values versatility but it just wasn't enough for McCullough. He was waived on August 25.

Wide Receiver Marquis Maze

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    Team: Pittsburgh Steelers 

    Status: Waived

    Marquis Maze was a solid contributor for four straight years and racked up 1,844 receiving yards and 1261 punt and kickoff return yards with the Tide. That's 3,105 career all-purpose yards.

    He attended the NFL combine, so it's a shock that he he didn't get drafted and even more so that he didn't make a team.

    When legendary Steelers receiver Hines Ward retired it was thought that young guys—even likely backups—would have a chance to step up.

    Even with his ability as a receiver and his great value as a return man, Maze was waved on August 31.

Center William Vlachos

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    Team: Tennessee Titans

    Status: Waived

    As a three-year starter, William Vlachos helped pave the way for one Heisman-winning running back and one Heisman-finalist running back en route to two national championships.

    He is an outstanding center and was in the mix for the Rimington Trophy in 2010 and 2011.

    Because of his small size—officially six-feet-and-three-eights inches with 30-inch arms—he didn't pass the "eyeball" test and wasn't invited to the NFL Scouting Combine.

    He was the first center cut by the Titans on August 26.

Wide Receiver Darius Hanks

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    Team: Washington Redskins

    Status: Waived/injured

    Darius Hanks spent his entire career in the shadow of other players. First, Julio Jones, then Marquis Maze.

    But Hanks was always an incredible asset to the Tide. No one on the team could run routes or catch in traffic like he could. And no one on the team could take a hit like he could and still come up with the ball.

    Hanks also attended the combine but was not drafted. He was injured and then waived on August 14.

Cornerback Phelon Jones

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    Team: Washington Redskins

    Status: Not on roster

    Phelon Jones spent his career as a backup. First at LSU, then at Alabama. He transferred to the Capstone because playing time was nearly impossible at LSU.

    He contributed heavily in nickel and dime packages for the Tide in 2011 and even though he was not a starter, he got a shot in the NFL as a free agent.

    There is no information that he was officially waived but he has been removed from the Redskins roster.

Linebacker Alex Watkins

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    Team: Tennessee Titans

    Status: Waived

    Alex Watkins was the biggest surprise when NFL teams started picking up undrafted free agents.

    Watkins was a solid backup for several years but with only 34 career tackles it's a wonder he made himself stand out enough to get a shot at the NFL.

    His good size, 6'3", 234 pounds and history with a championship team likely helped him get a chance but he was waived on August 11.

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