Thursday, June 13, 2013
Crimson Countdown: Dillon Lee
By Alex Scarborough
During the summer, TideNation will analyze each of the scholarship players on the Alabama roster -- excluding the Tide's 2013 recruiting class -- in our Crimson Countdown series. Starting with No. 1 Dee Hart, we will go through the roster numerically, finishing with No. 99 Brandon Ivory.
Expectations for 2013: Lee got off to such a hot start as a rookie in 2012, snatching an interception against Michigan during the season-opening game in Arlington, Texas. But somewhere along the way, the wheels fell off and the former four-star prospect from Buford High in Georgia was relegated to special teams work.
The downslide culminated in Miami when he and fellow rookie Ryan Anderson were sent home from the national championship game for missing curfew. Now that those trials are behind him, Lee is expected to become a contributing member of the linebacker corps again, potentially at both the inside and outside linebacker positions.
Best-case scenario: Coach Nick Saban thinks Lee has learned his lesson from last season, touting the youngster's work during the spring as a linebacker in nickel formation. With his blend of size (6-foot-4 and 242 pounds) and speed (sub-4.7 40-yard dash), Lee is a perfect fit to play in passing situations. While he's unlikely to start with C.J. Mosley, Trey DePriest and even Reggie Ragland ahead of him, Lee could carve out a role as a utility man in the linebacking corps working in relief and in specific formations.
Worst-case scenario: There's always the chance that what happened last season wasn't an aberration and was instead a harbinger of things to come. No one likes to see a talented player like Lee make mistakes and one can only hope it was a one-time thing. Because while Saban isn't a stranger to giving second chances, he is the type to cut ties with a player after multiple screw-ups. If Lee wants to become an impact player at Alabama, he must get out and stay out of Saban's doghouse long enough to prove himself on the football field.
Future impact: The linebacking corps could be much different after this season as it's fathomable that Mosley, DePriest and Adrian Hubbard all move on to the NFL. Mosley will leave as a senior, Hubbard is very likely considering it, as he almost pulled the trigger after last season, and DePriest could do the same if his stock continues to rise. If all three go pro, the door would be wide open for Lee to step in and become a starter for the next few seasons.