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Wednesday, February 6, 2013
ESPN 150 DT Dee Liner signs with Tide

By Greg Ostendorf

MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. -- ESPN 150 defensive tackle Dee Liner said he has known his decision for a month now, but he made it official on Wednesday. Liner, a former Auburn commitment, announced that he would sign with the University of Alabama.

“It feels real good to get all this stuff off my shoulders,” he said. “Alabama, it’s a real great school. They keep on winning championships. They develop their players into a man on and off the field. That’s why I chose them.”

Liner originally committed to Auburn as a sophomore, but when former head coach Gene Chizik and his staff were let go, the Alabama native decided to explore his options. Top SEC programs like Georgia and LSU made a late push, but in the end, Liner chose the Crimson Tide.

The 6-foot-3, 275-pound prospect is expected to start out as a defensive end, but he said the staff hasn’t ruled out the possibility of playing the Jack linebacker in Alabama’s defense.

What is the impact of Liner's decision?

What it means for Alabama: Despite winning a national championship this past year, Alabama had its issues rushing the passer. Liner is a guy who can get to the quarterback and wreak havoc in the backfield. It also continues to show the Tide’s dominance with in-state recruits.

What it means for Auburn: As important as Liner’s commitment was for Alabama, it was an even bigger blow for Auburn. He was committed to the Tigers since he was a sophomore, and many felt it would stick. Liner even grew up an Auburn fan. In the end, he signed with AU’s biggest rival, the Crimson Tide.

Turning point: Liner had shown interest in Alabama even before Chizik was fired -- visiting Tuscaloosa multiple times in the fall -- but when the former Auburn coach was let go, it sealed the deal. Just as important was the loss of AU assistant coach Trooper Taylor. He was Liner’s main recruiter and a big reason why he stayed committed.

Surprise (scale of 1-5): 1 Liner said he made his mind up over a month ago, and although he refused to do interviews with the media, everybody knew where he was going. He only took one official visit -- to Alabama.

Immediate impact (scale of 1-5): 3 It would be higher if not for all the young players Alabama has coming up. Still, the Tide lost three key defensive lineman from last year -- Quinton Dial, Damion Square and Jesse Williams -- and Liner has a chance to come in and break the rotation. He’s strong enough and quick enough to play as a freshman.