Despite missing the second half of the 2013 college football season with a torn ACL, Alabama safety Vinnie Sunseri reportedly is throwing his name into the 2014 NFL draft hat.
ESPN's Joe Schad has the news:
Alabama S Vinnie Sunseri, 20 tackles and 2 INT for TD in 7 gms, is recovering quickly from ACL and will enter the NFL Draft per sources— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) January 12, 2014
Sunseri suffered the injury Oct. 19 against Arkansas, but at the beginning of January, his father, Sal Sunseri, said Vinnie was two months ahead of his rehab schedule and would have been cleared to play in the Sugar Bowl if he were a senior, via AL.com's Michael Casagrande.
Still, after missing half of the season, many thought Sunseri would be wise to return to Tuscaloosa and prove his health before testing the draft waters.
Bleacher Report's Dan Hope echoed that belief:
Of course, it's not always that simple. With Landon Collins—an admittedly adept fit at either safety position—a possibility to take over the starting strong safety spot, Sunseri may have had to switch positions or fail to improve his stock.
The Anniston Star's Marquavius Burnett summed it up:
On Vinnie Sunseri, Landon Collins is set at SS so unless VS feels he can play/start at FS, coming back doesn't improve his stock.— Marquavius Burnett (@Marq_Burnett) January 12, 2014
As ESPN's Alex Scarborough ultimately reminds us, however, Sunseri had some intelligent minds in his corner:
Remember that Vinnie Sunseri’s father, Sal, has tons of experience coaching at both the NFL and pro level. He’s not lacking sound advice.— Alex Scarborough (@AlexS_ESPN) January 12, 2014
When will Sunseri be drafted?
This decision will be questioned by many, and whether it pays off for the talented junior will likely come down to the NFL Scouting Combine and pre-draft workouts. If he looks slow, teams will panic and his stock could enter a free-fall. If he proves to be healthy, though, teams will be reminded of the kind of playmaker he can be.
CBS Sports currently ranks Sunseri as the fourth-best strong safety in the class of 2015.
On the other side of things, Nick Saban has some major overhauling to do on the defensive side of the ball. Sunseri joins safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, defensive lineman Jeoffrey Pagan and linebacker Adrian Hubbard as early entrants into the draft.