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The mammoth Fluker, who wears a size-22 shoe, said in a statement that leaving early “is never an easy decision when you are playing at a place like Alabama.”

“”These four years in Tuscaloosa have been the best four years of my life and I appreciate everyone who helped me along the way,” he said.

Quarterback AJ McCarron, All-America linebacker C.J. Moseley and guard Anthony Steen have already said they’re returning for their senior seasons. Saban didn’t rule out other juniors possibly declaring for the draft before Tuesday’s deadline.

The Tide does have promising players who have logged plenty of playing time behind Lacy and Milliner, especially. Two freshmen _ tailback T.J. Yeldon (1,108 yards, 12 touchdowns) _ and cornerback Geno Smith saw significant action.

“You’ve got people that are going to go to the NFL each year and you’ve got people behind them that are going to do the same things when their time comes,” Milliner said.