TAMPA, Fla. — Now a month removed from his injury, Alabama football linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton is in good spirits.
He’ll be rooting Alabama on from the sideline when the Crimson Tide faces Clemson on Monday in the College Football Playoff national championship game. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Hamilton tore his ACL in the first half of the SEC Championship Game vs. Florida. Hamilton recalled going to make a tackle, getting his foot stuck in the turf and feeling his knee twist.
“I’m feeling good. I’ve upped my rehab,” Hamilton said during Alabama’s media day on Saturday. “I’m doing a little better. I’m walking better. Feeling good and ready to get this ‘W’ on Monday.”
Hamilton expects to be back on the field “by the end of spring ball.”
Prior to the injury, Hamilton was in the midst of a breakout junior season. He was third on the team with 64 tackles, including 9 tackles for loss and 2 sacks. Hamilton also added 2 interceptions and a forced fumble.
With Reuben Foster moving on, Hamilton will be the leader in the middle of Alabama’s defense next season.
“Just get my knee back right and be that leader and every down linebacker who’s going to be relentless and be the alpha dog,” Hamilton said of what he wants to improve on this offseason. “Things like getting bigger, faster and stronger. I’m looking forward to the challenge next year.”
Junior Rashaan Evans stepped in for Hamilton during the SEC title game and in the Peach Bowl semifinal vs. Washington.
Evans finished with 7 tackles and 1 sack against Washington.
Like safety Eddie Jackson is doing with the secondary, Hamilton is serving as an extra coach for his fellow linebackers. He stands around and gets the call from defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, watches each play develop and gives pointers when teammates return to the sideline.
While he’d love to play, Hamilton appreciates being able to cheer on his teammates on this championship run.
“I’m ecstatic. This is a goal that we set after the national championship last year,” Hamilton said. “It’s great to be back here again. It’s going to be even better to leave here with a win.”