Inside linebacker may fill in for former Tide player
By MARQ BURNETT
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Shaun Dion Hamilton may have a chance to follow in the footsteps of his idol.
Hamilton, a 6-foot-0, 240-pound linebacker out of Montgomery, Ala., says he models his game after former Alabama great C.J. Mosley.
"That's my role model, that's my idol," Hamilton said. "I did a lot of watching him this season and over the four years, and he became a great linebacker. Pretty sure he's going to become a first-rounder. That's who I really look up to."
But what about Mosley makes him so great and worth emulating?
"His X's and O's, he's always one step ahead of everybody, so that's what I tried, I did a lot in high school," Hamilton said. "So that's why I'm here now so I can study and try and get that kind of finish."
Like Mosley, Hamilton projects to play inside line
He said he's comfortable at both the Mike (strongside inside linebacker) and the Will (weakside inside linebacker) positions.
While Alabama's class brought in plenty of outside linebacker types, Hamilton is one of few inside linebackers in the Tide's top ranked 2014 class.
Also working in his favor is the fact that the Tide doesn't already have a ton of depth or experience at the position.
There's senior-to-be Trey DePriest, Reggie Ragland, Reuben Foster and Dillon Lee, who practices at both outside and inside linebacker.
DePriest will be entering his third season as a starter, but other than him, no returning player has played significant snaps.
"We really need to have guys like Shaun Dion," Tide coach Nick Saban said.
"He's a really good, physical, balanced, body controlled, athletic guy who can take on blockers and has range as a player.
"Inside linebackers are an area that we thought we didn't have a lot of depth at.
"He's a very bright guy, which I think that's a position where calls are made and responsibility for leadership are necessary.
"And he's very strong in those two areas as well."
Enrolling early gives Hamilton an opportunity to impress the coaches and his teammates.
If he's able to learn the system, he could follow his career could mirror Mosley's.
While Mosley wasn't a full-time starter until his senior season with the Tide, he played significant snaps as a freshman in 2010 while learning from older teammates like Dont'a Hightower and Nico Johnson throughout his career.
DePriest, Foster and others could provide Hamilton with similar guidance early on in his time with the Tide.
Hamilton said he brings a lot of positive qualities to the team.
"Good character, good leadership, and I'll be a hard worker," Hamilton said.
"Someone who's going to help the team win."