Editor’s note: Coming off its fourth national championship in seven seasons, Alabama returns a ton of talent, and has a great opportunity to repeat as champions in 2016.
Over the next few weeks, SEC Country will take a look at Alabama’s 25 most important players. Obviously, there’ll be coaches and other key members around the program who’ll have a big impact on the team’s success. But this list is strictly for the top-25 players for the Crimson Tide heading into 2016.
17. Shaun Dion Hamilton
As a sophomore in 2015, Hamilton played in all 15 games and made five starts. The Montgomery, Ala., native finished the year with 27 total tackles including 1.5 tackles for loss.
He mostly served as the starter when Alabama played its base defense against teams like Wisconsin, LSU and Arkansas.
But heading into his junior year, Hamilton should become more of an every-down player this year with Reggie Ragland moving on.
Hamilton served as the inside linebacker next to Reuben Foster throughout the spring, and started with the first-team offense on A-Day.
Hamilton’s biggest strength may be his football smarts. Hamilton is a gifted athlete and talented linebacker, but he’s a former Valedictorian.
Hamilton could help make some of the calls in the middle of Alabama’s defense next season. He, along with Foster, should have a good grasp on Alabama’s defense at this point in their career which should help when the unit is making adjusts and checks during games.
Look for Hamilton to have a breakout campaign in his third season in Tuscaloosa.
Coming Friday: A tough wide receiver