- Greg Ostendorf, ESPN Staff Writer
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- As Shaun Dion Hamilton (Montgomery, Ala./Carver) picked up scholarship offer after scholarship offer, he continued to wait for one from the University of Alabama. Finally, the Crimson Tide offered the ESPN Watch List linebacker in February, and it completely changed his recruitment.
When Hamilton sat in his high school’s auditorium Wednesday with three hats in front of him, it was an easy decision. After reaching for each hat, he pulled an Alabama hat and gloves out of a bag, signifying his commitment to the Tide.
“It was just the program,” Hamilton said. “It’s a great program. Coach [Nick] Saban, he’s a great coach. They’re known for winning championships. You know they’re going to be in a BCS bowl every year. I just love Alabama.
“Coach [Kirby] Smart and I, we have a great relationship. We’ve been talking on and on. I’ll be ready to play for them and try to help them compete so we can win national championships.”
The other two hats on the table belonged to Auburn and Tennessee. Hamilton, who had over 25 offers, made two late visits to Auburn, but it wasn’t enough to sway the in-state star.
“It was real hard,” he said. “There were a lot of great schools out there who gave me opportunities. Auburn is right down the road. I have a teammate who signed with them, but at the end of the day, my heart was with Alabama and I had to do what’s best for me and my family. It was a business decision.”
Hamilton becomes the Tide’s fourth commitment for 2014, joining running back Bo Scarbrough, and defensive backs Kalvaraz Bessent and Chris Williams in the class. The Carver High School linebacker plans to graduate early and enroll at UA in January.
“Whenever you can be on the weight program for a whole semester in front of everybody else, know the playbook, learn the playbook, it’s worth it,” Hamilton said. “I saw that with my friend Dee Milliner. He went in there in January. He started as a freshman. He was an All-American. Now he’s about to get drafted in the top five.”
Milliner, a former Alabama cornerback, was on hand for Hamilton’s commitment. He flew back from a meeting with the Kansas City Chiefs to attend the event.