TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Back when he was at Carver High School, Alabama linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton made a point to meet kids in the Montgomery area in hopes of being a positive influence on them.
During his sophomore year at Carver, Hamilton kept hearing about this overgrown eighth grader named Lyndell ‘Mack’ Wilson, and felt compelled to meet him.
“We actually met because I keep up with kids in our area, and it was like everybody was talking about this ‘Mack’ kid — like he was the hottest thing in middle school,” Hamilton said this spring. “He was already 6-1 in middle school, so I was like, ‘I’ve got to meet this kid.’ He was like the next big thing, they were talking about him starting as a freshman in high school so I introduced myself.”
Hamilton said Wilson “definitely” lived up to the hype. The duo terrorized opposing offenses for two years at Carver during Hamilton’s junior and senior seasons — Wilson’s freshman and sophomore years — before Wilson took over as the top dog.
The two have been friends ever since Hamilton’s first encounter with Wilson. They text throughout the week, and when Wilson made the trips to Tuscaloosa during spring practice, he and Hamilton would get together and “go over the playbook and stuff like that.”
On National Signing Day, Hamilton was on site as Wilson announced his decision to sign with Alabama. Hamilton said Wilson came to him throughout the recruiting process for advice.
“I told him throughout the process that I’m not going to just be recruiting you to Alabama,” Hamilton said. “I know people will try to tell you that you’re going to go to Alabama, or people are going to tell you this and that just because he’s there. But I told him from the jump, ‘Hey, this is your recruiting process. Don’t let me influence you at all because you worked hard for it, not me.'”
Added Wilson, “He was just telling me to stay level headed and stay humble. Those were the most important things. He told me I’d get a lot of calls from the media and to answer my phone, do your interviews, stay humble about it and stay grateful. Just ride it out to signing day.”
During those high school days, Wilson used Hamilton’s recruitment to help himself get noticed. As they did in high school, Wilson and Hamilton will get two more years to be teammates.
“He’s like my big brother. He stayed on me from the day I got to high school. He helped me become the player I am today,” Wilson said. “I always looked up to him and watched him to see what he was doing and tried to perfect my game like him because my 10th grade year — my first year at linebacker — I knew that the college coaches were there to see him. I felt like if I made a few plays, I could get some attention so that’s what I did. Then college coaches started contacting me.”