Alabama landed four solid linebackers for the Class of 2014: Keith Holcombe (6’4”, 210 lbs), a local kid from Tuscaloosa who played at Hillcrest High School; Christian Miller (6’4”, 215 lbs) from Spring Valley High School in Columbia, South Carolina; Shaun Dion Hamilton (6’, 240 lbs) from Carver High School in Montgomery, Alabama; and Rashaan Evans (6’3”, 220 lbs) from Auburn High School in Auburn, Alabama. Since there is no exact science on the subject, my educated guess is that, of the four, the latter two are the most likely to become impact players for the Crimson Tide in the fall.
If one word could describe Shaun Dion Hamilton it would be physical. After running through blocks, this inside linebacker is a technician at pounding either the running back or the quarterback. Hamilton isn’t the tallest player on the field, but he makes up for it by having keen instincts. Excellent at defending the run, Hamilton is equally skilled at getting to the quarterback. Areas that Hamilton will have to work on include pass coverage, reading defenses, and making the calls to change plays.
Because he is already going through reps in spring practice, Hamilton should have a leg-up on the other linebackers who will join him on campus in the fall. As one of the best players in the state of Alabama, Hamilton was targeted early on by the Crimson Tide’s coaching staff as a priority recruit. In spite of offers from as far away as USC, Notre Dame, Miami, Florida State, and even in-state Auburn, Hamilton set his sights on playing with the Crimson Tide.
One of the biggest surprise commitments in the class of 2014 came when Rashaan Evans, from Auburn, Alabama, decided to sign with the Crimson Tide. Though there are many different rumors surrounding Evans’ reasons for his decision, the truth is that Evans was a top priority for Alabama’s coaching staff, who were relentless in their pursuit of this outside linebacker.
Kirby Smart, in particular, was instrumental in securing this commitment. After making his final decision, Evans received some unnecessary backlash from college football fans who fail to remember that these players are 17 and 18-year-old young adults who are merely trying to make the best decision for their individual futures.
As one of the best players in the state of Alabama, Evans became even more of a stand-out and made a real name for himself when he was named the top outside linebacker in the entire country.
Rashaan Evans has a great frame on which to build to get even bigger and faster. Of all the linebackers Nick Saban has signed during his tenure as head coach at the University of Alabama, Rashaan Evans is definitely one of the fastest. He runs a true, legit 4.5 forty, flat.
While he excels at rushing the quarterback, Evans also is excellent at dropping in coverage. A powerful hitter, Evans always seems to be found wherever the football is. With a knack at taking the right angle to tackle the ball carrier, Evans also does not take plays off.
Because he is not an early enrollee, Rashaan Evans’ earliest opportunity to distinguish himself will be in fall practice, 2014. Though there are not many freshman linebackers with the ability to accomplish that, if any player can, it will be Rashaan Evans. Another position that could earn Evans playing time on the field early in the season would be on special teams.
This is the third article in a series on early enrollees from the Class of 2014 who could have an impact on Alabama’s football team in the fall.