NCF On The Trail: Shaun Dion Hamilton



With national signing day in the books, RecruitingNation is looking at which programs compiled the nation's best overall position classes in 2014. For the full top position classes series, click here.

Quarterbacks: Florida
The Florida Gators had a major need at quarterback in the Class of 2014, and Will Muschamp and staff more than filled it, signing two of the nation’s top signal-callers. Third-ranked dual-threat prospect Will Grier (Davidson, N.C./Davidson Day School) is already on campus and preparing for spring practice, while No. 7 dual-threat prospect Treon Harris (Miami/Booker T. Washington) was a huge signing-day flip from Florida State. Both prospects are great athletes who are accustomed to operating up-tempo offenses. This should also help newly hired offensive coordinator Kurt Roper, who will install a similar scheme in Gainesville.

Top position classes: LB 

February, 17, 2014
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With national signing day in the books, RecruitingNation is looking at the top position classes. For the full series, click here.

Nationally (and SEC)
The Alabama Crimson Tide’s 2014 class fill just about every need on the board, and that includes linebacker. With designs on addressing pass rushing and the ability to play in space on the edge at outside 'backer in Nick Saban’s 3-4 scheme, Alabama signed the Nos. 1 and No. 2 outside linebackers in the country in No. 48 overall Christian Miller (Columbia, S.C./Spring Valley) and No. 52 overall Rashaan Evans (Auburn, Ala./Auburn), who is pound for pound of the best pure athletes in the 2014 cycle. The Crimson Tide added two more talented linebackers in ESPN 300’s No. 102 Shaun Dion Hamilton (Montgomery, Ala./Carver) and No. 281 Keith Holcombe (Tuscaloosa, Ala./Hillcrest). Hamilton is an MLB.

The Crimson Tide had the nation’s best linebacker class; here’s which schools had the best in each of the remaining power conferences:


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Midyear signings: Bama adds six freshmen

January, 10, 2014
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According to RollTide.com, the following players have enrolled at Alabama:

Cameron Robinson OT West Monroe, La./West Monroe
HT: 6-5 WT: 300
Positional Rank: #1 OT
Stars: 5
ESPN 300 (#3)
Under Armour All-American

Tony Brown CB Beaumont, Texas/Ozen
HT: 6-0 WT: 196
Positional Rank: #4 CB
Stars: 5
ESPN 300 (#11)
Under Armour All-American

Laurence Jones S Monroe, La./Neville
HT: 6-2 WT: 208
Positional Rank: #2 S
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (#22)
Under Armour All-American

David Cornwell QB-PP Norman, Okla./Norman
HT: 6-5 WT: 241
Positional Rank: #2 QB-PP
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (#43)
Under Armour All-American

Cameron Sims WR Monroe, La./Ouachita Parish
HT: 6-4 WT: 190
Positional Rank: #8 WR
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (#63)
Under Armour All-American

Shaun Dion Hamilton ILB Montgomery, Ala./Carver
HT: 5-11 WT: 234
Positional Rank: #6 ILB
Stars: 4

In December, ESPN's Gerry Hamilton reported that ESPN JC50 defensive linemen D.J. Pettway (Pensacola, Fla./East Mississippi CC) and Jarran Reed (Goldsboro, N.C./East Mississippi CC) also signed with the Tide.
The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: With the newest edition of the BCS standings released, we take a look at the biggest headlines of the top five teams from the recruiting trail.

No. 1 Florida State
FSU’s victory over Florida this past Saturday will help the Noles on the recruiting front. Florida and FSU tangle quite a bit in the Sunshine State, especially in South Florida, and the Noles will use the 37-7 victory to sell their program against the Gators. With the Noles in line to play for the national championship, the next few weeks will be big to help FSU close out a top-flight class that already ranks as the nation’s sixth best.

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Recruits will be watching: Tide-Vols 

October, 24, 2013
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Though Alabama will have several top visitors in attendance for its game against LSU on Nov. 9, there are still plenty of recruiting storylines to follow when the Crimson Tide host long-time rival Tennessee this weekend.

Da'Shawn Hand
Scott Fink for ESPNNo. 4 overall prospect Da'Shawn Hand will be in Tuscaloosa this weekend for his second of three official visits.
Both teams have top-five recruiting classes, and the game will draw plenty of recruits from all over the Southeast. Here's a closer look at which recruits will be focused on this game Saturday.

DE Da'Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge): The No. 4-ranked player in the country will be in Tuscaloosa for his second of three official visits. It appears that Michigan has the advantage for this five-star prospect, but Nick Saban is one of the best recruiters in the country, and Bama will pull out all the stops to impress Hand and his family. Hand is also planning to visit Florida in early November before making a decision on Nov. 14. This visit will go a long way in determining where the No. 1-ranked defensive end will play college football next season.


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Best SEC recruiters 

October, 15, 2013
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Editor's note: For a look at the national recruiter power rankings based only on Class of 2014 success, click here.

It's no secret that Southeastern Conference has been the top conference in the country as far as recruiting over the last several years. The league currently has six teams ranked in the top 11 of the team recruiting rankings. Here's a look at the top 10 recruiters around the ultra-competitive conference.

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SEC recruiting storylines: Oct. 10 

October, 10, 2013
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Taking a look back at the week that was in SEC recruiting and looking ahead to future visits as teams build toward signing day:

Banner week for Tennessee

While Tennessee couldn’t pull out a victory over Georgia Saturday, the Vols had more success in the minds of prospects. The Volunteers have picked up a pair of commitments since Saturday, and both are significant. Defensive end Derek Barnett (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood Academy), the No. 298 player in the ESPN 300, helps fill a serious need on the defensive front. Junior college offensive tackle Dontavius Blair (Anniston, Ala./Garden City Community College) has the ability to be an impact player at a key position that will be hit by graduation. The 6-foot-7, 307-pound Blair was a huge recruiting win over SEC programs Auburn and Texas A&M. The Vols look like a lead-pipe cinch to sign a top-10 class at this point.


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In this week’s top 10 list, we look at which 2014 recruits have the best chance to make an early impact for Alabama. It’s a combination of UA commitments and realistic targets for the Crimson Tide. They’re ranked in order of likelihood to make the biggest impact in 2014.


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It should come as no surprise that the University of Alabama’s 2014 recruiting class is littered with recruits in both the ESPN 150 and the new ESPN 300 rankings as the Crimson Tide are coming off back-to-back national championships. But the class received its biggest boost yet with a pair of commitments over the weekend.


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Tales From the Road: Alabama 

June, 5, 2013
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Each week, Tales From The Road provides news and updates about where Alabama’s coaches are recruiting and which prospects are getting noticed.

This week’s targets: The week has been all about Alabama’s first summer camp. Prospects from across the country have flocked to Tuscaloosa to either compete or just to visit. The headliner was five-star Cameron Robinson (West Monroe, La./West Monroe), the No. 1 offensive tackle in the country, who last visited for the Crimson Tide’s spring game in April. Robinson recently tweeted that his decision will come down to Alabama and LSU. Other ESPN 150 stars who have been on campus this week include quarterback David Cornwell (Norman, Okla./Norman North) running back Racean Thomas (Oxford, Ala./Oxford), defensive tackle Elisha Shaw (Tucker, Ga./Tucker) and athlete Ronnie Clark (Calera, Ala./Calera).

Area of interest: The state of Arkansas isn’t what you’d call a recruiting oasis year in and year out, but there’s still talent to be had. Last year, Alabama plucked out ESPN 150 running back Altee Tenpenny (North Little Rock, Ark./North Little Rock), the No. 1 player in the state. This year, the top player still available is four-star defensive tackle Joshua Frazier (Springdale, Ark./Har Ber). Not surprisingly, the Tide are among his five finalists. This week, Nick Saban and his staff decided to get a head start on next year’s crop, offering 2015 quarterback Ty Storey (Charleston, Ark./Charleston) and 2015 tight end Will Gragg (Pine Bluff, Ark./Pine Bluff). Both prospects camped at Alabama.

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Tales From The Road: Alabama 

May, 15, 2013
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Each week, Tales From The Road provides news and updates about where Alabama’s coaches are recruiting and which prospects are getting noticed.

This week’s targets: Alabama has traveled coast to coast this spring, but this week the staff is putting an emphasis on the Southeast, specifically its home state. UA assistant coach Lance Thompson plans to make a trip back to Mobile where he will no doubt make a stop at St. Paul’s Episcopal to see Auburn commitments Josh Casher and Tre' Williams. Kirby Smart made a stop at Montgomery (Ala.) Carver to see ESPN 150 linebacker commitment Shaun Dion Hamilton. He’ll also be spending a couple days in West Georgia, checking in with top programs like Sandy Creek, Newnan and Carver, the home of 2015 commitment Mekhi Brown.

Area of interest: There aren’t many Californians on the Alabama roster, but the staff seems to be putting more emphasis on the state with the 2014 class. Tide assistant coaches Greg Brown and Doug Nussmeier were both on the West Coast last week checking out prospects. The biggest name is ESPN 150 tight end Tyler Luatua (La Mirada, Calif./La Mirada), the brother of UA offensive lineman Issac Luatua, but the Tide also have offers out to a pair of ESPN 150 offensive linemen, Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./John Bosco) and Viane Talamaivao (Corona, Ca./Centennial). All three prospects want to visit Tuscaloosa.

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- ESPN 150 athlete Bo Scarbrough (Tuscaloosa, Ala./Northridge) committed to Alabama in September, but that hasn’t stopped other schools from recruiting him. Last week, Florida running backs coach Brian White paid him a visit.


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MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Shaun Dion Hamilton is still fresh off his commitment to the University of Alabama, but little did he has longed been linked to one of the best to ever put on a Crimson Tide uniform.

The tradition in the Hamilton family is to name the kids after the male. Shelton Hamilton, Shaun’s father, named his first son Shelton ‘D.J.’ Hamilton after himself. When it came time to name Shaun, he used a little inspiration from an article in Sports Illustrated.

Shaun Dion Hamilton
Greg Ostendorf/ESPNFor Shaun Hamilton, competition is part of the appeal at Alabama.
The article detailed a high school running back from Boone County High School in Kentucky who had rushed for 3,000 yards as a senior. He was also the SGA president and in the top 10 of his class. To top it off, he was headed to Alabama to play football.

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Cornerback Stephen Roberts (Opelika, Ala./Opelika) grew up in Auburn’s backyard, but he was in Tuscaloosa on Saturday for A-Day, the University of Alabama’s spring game.

“It was great,” Roberts said. “I saw a lot of good things out of the defense and offense. I was watching Amari Cooper the whole time, to see how most of the corners guard him, how they guard him on different routes and stuff. That’s what stood out to me the most.”

Although it was just the spring game, the Crimson Tide still had close to 80,000 fans pack in Bryant-Denny Stadium.


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videoMONTGOMERY, 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.

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