The 6'4" quarterback enters the NFL draft after leading Alabama to two national championships. Thanks to Brent Musburger's gushing during the 2012 BCS title game—"What a beautiful woman"—McCarron is almost as well known for his girlfriend, Katherine Webb.
DAN PATRICK:Have you graduated?
AJ MCCARRON: I have. I graduated in three years, so I've been done with school for a while.
DP:You must have had an easy major.
AM: Health and environmental science. It's not the easiest they offer, but it's not terribly bad.
DP:Why didn't you participate in the Senior Bowl?
AM: Starting three years in the SEC, your body gets a little banged up. I never got a rest. Also, after 49 games I don't feel like I need to prove anything else.
DP:Are you going to throw at the NFL combine?
AM: I don't know.
AM: I've talked to a lot of people, and there are a lot of mixed emotions. It's hard to get timing with guys you never worked with after one day of throwing.
DP:Who do you trust when it comes to evaluating your pro potential?
AM: I don't really listen to anyone.
DP:You have an agent?
AM: Right, but [Todd France] knows just as much as I do. That's any agent. Nobody can predict the draft, especially—as good as they say they are—[not] Mel Kiper or Todd McShay.
DP:What do they say about you?
AM: One day I'm not on the board. The next day I am. I think it's whatever side of the bed they wake up on.
DP:Do you think college football fans tired of you at Alabama?
AM: That's the way the world is. You get tired of the old stuff. When the new hot thing comes in, that's just the way the business is.
DP:Do you think you loosened Coach Saban up?
AM: Maybe, maybe not. It was just our connection—he's the only person who recruited me from Alabama. I earned his respect and trust. I was probably the only guy who could challenge him.
DP:Does your girlfriend, Katherine Webb, ever tell you to change your outfit?
AM: Of course.
DP:What do you do?
AM: Keep it on. If I like something, I'm going to wear it.
DP:Was Webb, an Auburn grad, in part happy that the Tigers beat you [this season]?
AM: No. Everybody thinks that just because she went to Auburn, she's a big Auburn fan. She knew absolutely nothing about football until my mom and everyone started teaching her.
DP:Do you care that she didn't know football?
AM: I like it that she [didn't]. And that she's learned. And that she's true to us as a couple. She's not like a lot of girls out there chasing cleats.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera, who's on the NFL Competition Committee, on the possibility of playoff expansion: "I've been on a team that had a winning record that didn't go to the playoffs.... It's very frustrating to say, 'Man, we were 10--6 and didn't get in.' That is a tough pill to swallow." ... Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly takes very seriously the attempt by North-western players to unionize. "The NCAA is looking at [being] more student-athlete oriented," Kelly told me. "If there's an opportunity for the student-athlete to fly home to see his family, I think everyone is looking to make that happen." ... Pacers center Roy Hibbert explained why he enjoys social media so much. (@Hoya2aPacer has more than 232,000 followers.) "I was an only child," he said. "I never interacted with a lot of people outside of basketball. Social media gives me a way to connect. I try to be myself."
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (PATRICK)
AL TIELEMANS/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (MCCARRON)
CHUCK BURTON/AP (RIVERA)
DAMIAN STROHMEYER FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (KELLY)
JOHN W. MCDONOUGH/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (HIBBERT)