Hamilton, a 6-foot-0, 240-pound linebacker out of Montgomery, said he models his game after former Crimson Tide All-American C.J. Mosley, who was a senior this past season.
“That’s my role model, that’s my idol,” Hamilton said recently in a meeting with reporters. “I did a lot of watching of him this season and over the four years, and he became a great linebacker. Pretty sure he’s going to become a first-rounder. That’s who I really look up to.”
But what about Mosley makes him so great and worth emulating?
“His Xs and Os, he’s always one step ahead of everybody, so that’s what I tried. I did a lot in high school,” Hamilton said. “So that’s why I’m here now so I can study and try and get that kind of finish.”
Like Mosley, Hamilton figures to play inside linebacker at Alabama. He said he is comfortable at both the Mike (strongside inside linebacker) and the Will (weakside inside linebacker) positions.
While Alabama’s class brought in plenty of outside linebackers, Hamilton is one of few inside linebackers in the Tide’s 2014 class.
Also working in his favor is the fact that the Tide doesn’t already have a ton of depth or experience at the position. There’s rising senior Trey DePriest, sophomore-to-be Reuben Foster, and rising juniors Reggie Ragland and Dillon Lee, who practices at both outside and inside linebacker. DePriest is entering his third season as a starter, but other than him, no returning player has played significant snaps.
“We really need to have guys like Shaun Dion,” Tide coach Nick Saban said. “He’s a really good, physical, balanced, body controlled, athletic guy who can take on blockers and has range as a player.
“Inside linebackers are an area that we thought we didn’t have a lot of depth at. He’s a very bright guy, which I think that’s a position where calls are made and responsibility for leadership are necessary. And he’s very strong in those two areas as well.”
Hamilton is one of eight Alabama players who enrolled early at the university, beginning classes in January.
Enrolling early gives Hamilton an opportunity to impress the coaches and his teammates. If he is able to learn the system, his career could mirror Mosley’s. While Mosley wasn’t a full-time starter until his senior season with the Tide, he played significant snaps beginning as a freshman in 2010. He learned from older teammates such as Dont’a Hightower and Nico Johnson throughout his career.
DePriest, Foster and others could provide Hamilton with similar guidance in his time with the Tide.
Hamilton said he can bring a lot of positive qualities to the team.
“Good character, good leadership, and I’ll be a hard worker,” Hamilton said. “Someone who’s going to help the team win.”