Dillon Lee may fill multiple gaps on Tide defense

Lee saw most time on special teams last year

Anniston StarMarch 25, 2014 

Colorado St Alabama Football

Alabama linebacker Dillon Lee (25) recovers a blocked punt and returns it for a touchdown, next to Alabama running back Dee Hart (1) during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Colorado State on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

BUTCH DILL — AP

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- With multiple holes to fill on the defensive side, Alabama may look to versatile players who can play multiple positions in 2014.

Insert linebacker Dillon Lee.

Lee, a junior from Buford, Ga., has spent the first week of spring practice crossing training at both outside and inside linebacker.

At 6-foot-4, 243 pounds, Lee has the size and physicality to play inside while also bringing speed off the edge to get after the passer.

"I think Dillon Lee will be a really good player for us," Tide coach Nick Saban said. "I think he has a good understanding of what we want him to do. He runs well. He's got good size and plays good block protection, especially at the line of scrimmage.

"We feel like he can be a very good player and competing for a starting job right now. We're confident that if he wins that job, he'll be able to do an outstanding job for us."

Like most players under Saban, Lee had to pay his dues on special teams with other players ahead of him on the depth chart. Last season, he was a special teams standout and a backup defender.

He had 16 tackles and also scooped a fumble and ran it in for a touchdown.

Now, he's expected to take on a more prominent role. In the first period of the media's viewing period of practice, Lee can be seen leading the outside linebacker group. He works at SAM (strongside outside linebacker). Then during the second period, Lee sprints over to work with the inside linebackers.

With the departure of C.J. Mosley and Adrian Hubbard, Lee could fill both of those roles in some capacity. Last year, he was listed behind Hubbard at SAM linebacker on the fall practice depth chart.

If he wins the job, Lee would play outside linebacker in running situations and play inside for passing situations and when Alabama goes to its nickel and dime packages.

This role would be similar to the one Cory Reamer played during the Tide's 2009 championship run.

"Dillon is very versatile. Great guy. Very physical. Just an athlete," linebacker Denzel Devall said. "He's smart, and I believe he'll come in and do a great job for us."

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