Alabama’s Reggie Ragland returns next season as its senior linebacker. He had a stellar year in 2014, totaling 95 tackles (10.5 for loss), 1.5 sacks, three pass breakups, three fumble recoveries, a forced fumble and an interception. The Crimson Tide returns Reuben Foster, Dillon Lee and Ryan Anderson, but it also showcases some young guns that look to emerge in 2015.
Keith Holcombe, standing at 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, will be amongst Rashaan Evans, Shaun Dion Hamilton and Christian Miller as sophomore linebackers pushing for playing time.
Both Evans and Hamilton got their feet wet last season as freshmen. Evans led the duo with 15 tackles, two stops for loss, a sack and three quarterback hurries in 13 games. Hamilton assisted on three tackles in 14 games.
Holcombe is a home grown talent in Tuscaloosa, Ala. He was a budding star at Hillcrest High School as a four-star prospect. Holcombe accounted for 128 total tackles, two sacks and an interception, during his senior season in 2013. Holcombe was named 6A All-State selection by the Alabama Sports Writers Association.
Holcombe has the size and speed to play at inside and outside linebacker. He’s quickly grasping Alabama’s system, and veterans on the team have taken notice. Reggie Ragland wasn’t hesitant in praising Holcombe, during an interview with Christopher Walsh of Saturday Down South in October 2014.
“Now in a couple of years, that’s who everyone needs to watch out for,” Ragland said. “He’s [Holcombe] going to be a stud for us.”
Dillon Lee and Reuben Foster look to complete a full season in 2015. Ryan Anderson has his eyes on the jack linebacker position, left behind by Xzavier Dickson. It will be interesting to see who accompanies Ragland on the field next season. Evans and Hamilton both will battle for more field time, but don’t overlook Holcombe in the process.