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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- With his degree completed and back-to-back national championships on his resume, Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron could have easily left after his junior season last year. But there was one big thing holding him back — his brother.

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Corey McCarron, 20, transferred to Alabama as a walk-on tight end and sat out last season per NCAA rules. This year, AJ's senior season, would be the first time Corey would be eligible and the first time the two had played together in years.

It was too good to pass up, and McCarron didn't seek NFL opinions about his draft stock.

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"It's an awesome experience," Corey says. "Something that I'll never forget."

For all his accolades, McCarron gets the most animated talking about his brother. AJ McCarron, 23, is the winningest Alabama quarterback, 36-2 as a starter, a Heisman contender and has led the Crimson Tide to back-to-back BCS titles.

Yet it was a blowout of Arkansas earlier this year in which Corey McCarron laid a block that sealed the edge for Derrick Henry's 80-yard touchdown run that makes McCarron the most animated.

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"I remember running down the sidelines while he was running down and met him out on the field probably when I wasn't supposed to be out on the field," says McCarron. "That's the reason why I stayed, memories like that."

The McCarrons got one more on Saturday — a 3-yard pass from Corey to AJ in the quarterback's senior day win over UT-Chattanooga.

"They've talked about it all year long," says Tony McCarron, their father, noting that both said afterward they were nervous. "I said y'all be throwing it to each other a million times in that back yard."

With a maximum of three games left in AJ McCarron's Alabama career, the NFL looms. McCarron, who is 6-4, 214 pounds, could win a third consecutive national championship — something never done before by a college quarterback — but what are his NFL prospects?

"He does have size, good short accuracy, manages the game and wins. So, he should find his way onto a roster," an executive in personnel for an NFL team told USA TODAY Sports on condition of anonymity for competitive reasons.

The executive said McCarron is likely a mid-round pick. "Intangibles will help," he said. "But it will depend on how he works out at Indy" at the draft combine.

Former NFL general manager Vinny Cerrato adds, "I think you've got to look at (winning) in college. Will that transfer? I mean, Tim Tebow did it in college. Will he be able to transfer it to the NFL? Or is he (just) a great college player like Danny Wuerffel or those kind of guys? They've got to have the traits in the NFL, physically."

Regardless of the future ahead for McCarron, both brothers are grateful for the year they've had together.

"No matter if he goes in the first round, first pick to undrafted to sixth-round pick like Tom Brady, it doesn't matter," says Corey McCarron. "He's the best quarterback in my heart, in my eyes, so I'm proud of him."

Contributing: Tom Pelissero

A sit-down with AJ McCarron, the star quarterback for No. 1 Alabama.

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