TUSCALOOSA, Ala. —University of Alabama senior linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton’s comeback game got a little sweeter on Tuesday morning when he was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week.
In his first game since suffering a torn ACL in the 2016 SEC Championship Game against Florida, he led the Crimson Tide with eight tackles, including a career-high 3.5 for a loss and a sack.
Alabama limited No. 3 Florida State to just 40 rushing yards and 250 total yards during the 24-7 victory.
He was also the only starting linebacker to escape a significant injury during the game. Alabama had to use numerous players in trying to replace outside linebackers Christian Miller (biceps) and Anfernee Jennings (ankle), along with interior linebacker Rashaan Evens (groin).
Miller and Terrell Lewis (elbow) were lost for the season, while Jennings and Evans are expected to be out a couple of weeks.
“Next guy’s up,” Hamilton said. “All the guys who get recruited here are top guys, so it’s time for them to grow up.”
Among those who could get significantly more playing time include interior linebackers Keith Holcombe, Mack Wilson and Dylan Moses. Former walk-on Jamie Mosley led the outside linebackers through drills Monday.
“We have a lot of good young guys and I already told them that if y’all need anything from me I am willing to help and watch extra film with them or whatever,” Hamilton said. “I know me and all the other coaches and some of the leaders are going to do what we need to do to get those guys ready.”
It’s the first time Hamilton’s won the weekly SEC honor. Although running Damien Harris led the team in rushing, scored a touchdown and blocked a punt, the special-teams award went to South Carolina’s Deebo Samuel. He returned the opening kick 97 yards for a touchdown and caught two touchdown passes to led the 35-28 victory over North Carolina State.
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