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Former five-star ‘Bama RB moves to corner… for now

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A five-star member of Alabama’s 2011 recruiting class, Dee Hart was expected to be the latest in a string of very productive Tide running backs.

In July of 2011, Hart suffered a torn ACL that forced him to miss his true freshman season.  After rehabbing that injury, Hart tore the ACL in the same knee during an October win over Ole Miss last year and, obviously, missed the remainder of the season.  While Hart is returning yet again from injury, he’ll be doing so on the other side of the ball.

The two-time defending national champions opened spring practice Saturday afternoon, and Hart was working in the secondary as a cornerback in a black, no-contact jersey.  Head coach Nick Saban, however, stressed that just because players are working at a different position this spring, Hart included, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the moves will be permanent.

“We’re looking to see if any of those guys can help us, and if this would be a better circumstance for how much they would be able to contribute to our team,” Saban said in explaining a handful of position switches.

The Tide is absolutely loaded at the running back position, with second-leading rusher T.J. Yeldon, one of two UA backs with over 1,000 yards last season, returning as well as four RBs in this year’s recruiting class added to a stable of four- and five-star players at the position.  The combination of that depth and Hart’s recent injury history would make switching to the secondary on a permanent basis sensible on several levels.

Hart, though, isn’t the only player making a secondary move.  Cyrus Jones and Christion Jones, wide receivers in 2012, were working with the defensive backs during the first of 15 spring practice sessions.

“I’ve been encouraged by all those guys. They’re all really athletic,” the coach said of the three skill-position players. “They’ve all played defensive back before, so it’s not like they’re lost. But I don’t think there’s any way that all those guys are going to end up on defense. Maybe one. Maybe two, if they both have roles.”

For the most part, and likely to Saban’s liking, the Tide’s first spring practice of the year was an uneventful one.  Here, though, are a few notes and one quote from the Tide’s return to the practice field.

– A total of nine early enrollees took part in the spring practice: quarterback Cooper Bateman, junior college offensive lineman Leon Brown, quarterback Luke Del Rio, wide receiver Raheem Falkins, running back Derrick Henry, offensive lineman Brandon Hill, tight end O.J. Howard, quarterback Parker McLeod and defensive back Jai Miller.

– Bateman, Del Rio and McLeod, incidentally, were three of the eight quarterbacks — yes, eight — who are currently on the roster and received reps.  In addition to those two as well as starter AJ McCarron and backup Blake SimsAlec MorrisPhillip Ely and walk-on Edward Aldag also received some semblance of work.

– Ely had reportedly been considering a transfer earlier this offseason, so his presence served as somewhat of a mild surprise.  Depending on how things shake out over the next five weeks, though, Ely could still look to move on to a program less congested at the quarterback position.

– From the Anniston Star: “During a couple of drills, McCarron was able to throw to someone he said he wanted to play alongside — his brother, tight end Corey McCarron, a rising sophomore.”

– As noted in UA’s release, secondary coach Greg Brown, assistant head coach and offensive line coach Mario Cristobal and wide receivers coach Billy Napier getting their first on-field look at the 2013 Crimson Tide squad.  All of those assistants are in their first months on the job after three of Saban’s assistants left this offseason for better jobs title-wise.

– Wide receiver DeAndrew White (knee), running back Jalston Fowler (knee) and linebacker C.J. Mosley were among those wearing the black, no-contact jersey.  There was no word on the specific nature of Mosley’s injury.  (Writer’s note: Mosley underwent offseason shoulder surgery, hence the no-contact jersey.)

– Quasi-starting linebacker Xzavier Dickson was in the mix along the defensive line.  Again, the move is not necessarily a permanent one.  Dickson started six of the 13 games in which he played at LB last year.

– It was noted by al.com that “WR Kenny Bell doesn’t look like someone who broke his leg four months ago.”

– For those who keep track of this sort of thing, the Tide officially returns six starters on offense and seven on defense.  Starting punter Cody Mandell returns as well.

– Quotable, from Saban via the school’s sports information department:

“The main objective to me for spring practice is to focus on player improvement. Whether it is what a player needs to be able to do, the technique of how he should do it and to have an understanding conceptually of why it is important to do it that way.

“In the spring you don’t have game plans. You don’t have to change what you are doing and it is an opportunity for everyone to know our offense, our defense and our special teams – and to understand what is expected of them. I think it is also a time that a player needs to learn how to practice.”

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42 Responses to “Former five-star ‘Bama RB moves to corner… for now”
  1. cometkazie says: Mar 16, 2013 8:29 PM

    We wish you all the best, Dee.

  2. alligatorsnapper says: Mar 16, 2013 9:56 PM

    Saban could be thinking how Dee could help the team with less chance of further injury to that same ACL. Staying as a RB will put great strain on that ACL. And with the Tide being so deep with RBs, this position would enable Dee to contribute.

  3. inhokewetrust says: Mar 16, 2013 10:15 PM

    U were commited to us….and then u left…..carma is a bitch…..u BETTER get your degree….your gonna need it….
    Go blue

  4. John Taylor says: Mar 16, 2013 10:27 PM

    “U were commited to us….and then u left…..carma is a bitch…..u BETTER get your degree….your gonna need it….
    Go blue”

    What a miserable human being you must be. And an absolute butcher of the English language to boot. Congrats!!!

  5. slartibartfast4242 says: Mar 16, 2013 10:41 PM

    Unless your name is Adrian Peterson, coming back from ACL surgeries is extremely hard, doubly so when it has happened twice over two years.

    Best of luck to Dee Hart and hopefully he can make some contribution to the team.

    On a side note, wasn’t Morris Claiborne a former RB converted to a DB? Worked out pretty well for LSU.

  6. normtide says: Mar 16, 2013 10:51 PM

    Wow, wishing harm on a young man. That’s class. I do know you don’t represent most Michigan fans. Here’s hoping your life gets better.

    Bama is deep at rb, and most are young. Ofc, great ones are only there 3 years, but I expect someone to transfer. Don’t blame them for seeking playing time.

  7. barnesaintnoble says: Mar 17, 2013 2:56 AM

    @inhokewetrust

    I’d imagine when RichRod was hired as head coach, your name was “inrodwetrust” and when he lost his first game you immediately changed it to “firerichrod,” or something along those lines.

    Use “You” not “U” unless you are like 14, it’s 2 extra keystrokes. You’re not Your. If you spell it “carma,” you probably have no idea what KARMA actually means. Have you heard of a comma? And no, I’m not talking about that feeling you get after stuffing your face with whatever garbage you must be consuming.

    Chances are you probably left your stupid comment here and felt so satisfied that you won’t return to read mine. I’m hoping you are either insecure or trollish enough to come back and see what others left in response. You are an embarassment to Michigan fans and alums. I wish you the best of luck getting your GED, although I have a feeling you won’t even need it for whatever you end up doing with your life.

    The end.

  8. manchestermiracle says: Mar 17, 2013 3:02 AM

    Alabama has an embarrassment of riches. Even the 3rd and 4th string guys are four-and five-star recruits. How much longer before they just field a whole ‘nother team and finish one-two in the conference, if not in all of college football?

  9. louhudson23 says: Mar 17, 2013 4:36 AM

    J. Clowney remains unimpressed with Nick Saban….

  10. bralinshan says: Mar 17, 2013 9:34 AM

    While I’m sure that Nick Saban is impressed with J. Clowney (who wouldn’t be?)….I’m quite certain that winning both National Championships since Clowney entered college…proves Saban didn’t need him.

  11. thegamecocker says: Mar 17, 2013 11:19 AM

    I hope this young man fully recuperates and is successful on and off the field. This is two years in a row with ACL issue on the same knee. The Gamecock Nation is hoping you have a full recovery. It takes much work and sacrifice to get back on the playing field. Best of luck….you have already earned our respect with the effort.

  12. mungman69 says: Mar 17, 2013 11:20 AM

    Oh show me the way to the next whiskey bar.

  13. amosalanzostagg says: Mar 17, 2013 12:14 PM

    Ever think Nick actually tries to put the best athletes in a position to play on a consistent basis regardless which side of the ball they’re on?

    Nick knows the pro game and I think there is a lot of talk with players about position moves to benefit the team as well as position the athlete for at least an opportunity to make it to the NFL.

  14. tigersgeaux says: Mar 17, 2013 12:15 PM

    Hate to hear about this. I wish Dee the best. Two surgeries on the same ACL? Whew. That usually means no further playing. If Dee can come back from that and play corner he is doing a great thing. I do understand Coach Saban not putting him back at the position he hurt the knee ligaments the 2 times before.

    inhokewetrust: You are an idiot. Isn’t it something that fans of the only team in recent years who has a fairly even record against Alabama while it has won 3 NCs. are wishing Dee well and a pitiful fan like you are posting that dung. Get off this thread moron!

  15. inhokewetrust says: Mar 17, 2013 2:22 PM

    Wow…if u Americans cared for gun control,OBESITY,and the economy as much as Harts knee…then your homes would not be worth $10,000

  16. irishdodger says: Mar 17, 2013 2:27 PM

    And if it wasn’t for the USA, you Canucks would be under Soviet rule. You’re welcome.

  17. inhokewetrust says: Mar 17, 2013 2:29 PM

    Thanx buddy…..come on bud it’s all in good fun…

  18. tlmoon2112 says: Mar 17, 2013 3:47 PM

    If my team was loaded with guys that spent their childhood running from the cops, Id have great running backs too.

  19. ronmexicophilly7 says: Mar 17, 2013 11:27 PM

    bust

  20. Deb says: Mar 17, 2013 11:37 PM

    inhokewetrust …

    It should be all in good fun, but there’s nothing funny about wishing injury on these kids just because you don’t like their team or because they de-committed from your team to play somewhere else. Grow up, dude.

    Can’t imagine moving to corner after tearing the same ACL twice. That takes a lot of grit. Best of luck, Dee!

  21. lakesidegator says: Mar 18, 2013 10:54 AM

    [vomiting sounds]

  22. packerbadger says: Mar 18, 2013 11:13 AM

    LOL! Win at all costs! The corner is where most of the SEC players would be in a classroom with all the other not so bright kids. Do you know what the outlook for a second or third ACL reconstruct is?…. or a total knee construct after he blows it out the second time? SEC as SEC does. Cant make this stuff up.

  23. normtide says: Mar 18, 2013 11:16 AM

    SEC took your coach. Guess we are good enough for that. UW’s best coach every, have up a shot at the rose bowl, for NW ARK.

    Just hope we don’t take your woman next. Muwhahaha.

    Seriously, switch to decaf dude.

  24. gamustangdude says: Mar 18, 2013 11:45 AM

    @pakerbadger

    Not sure why you bothered to include the SEC as a whole in this story when it obviously centers around 1 school. This is an example of the two-facedness that non-SEC fans have demonstrated over and over again on this blog. In one hand you have Alabama, not the SEC, winning the BCS national championship. On the other you have the SEC, not Alabama, being bashed for an Alabama story, hilarious!!
    In all honesty what would you have the kid do? Sit out not play? Saban just trying to find a spot for the kid to play that would minimize his injury. Will it work, who knows. I understand the gravity of returning from a second ACL injury, especially to the same leg. That being said, this article just pointed out other possible roles the kid could play, didn’t say the kid was a starter, would get any playing time, nor would solely play that one position.
    Obviously you hate the SEC for whatever reason and look for any negative out of a story to further perpetuate your delusions and juvenile hatred towards the SEC. You’re sad guy and need some help. Let us SEC fans worry about the SEC while you worry about you non-relevant school ok?

  25. cometkazie says: Mar 18, 2013 11:57 AM

    We know people online by their comments.

    I appreciate all you good guys . . . . and gal. It shows.

  26. normtide says: Mar 18, 2013 12:04 PM

    gamustang- packerbadger is just a victim of awful timing. He went on for weeks about Madison wis. How enlightened, greatest college town ever. Then his coach left for the SEC. It scarred him.

    You had a great point. They wonder why we stand together, yet they always lump us together. Could be worse though. At least we are not in the B1G.

  27. Deb says: Mar 18, 2013 2:26 PM

    @cometkazie …

    Well … we know quite a few of them have the emotional maturity of third graders ;)

  28. lakesidegator says: Mar 18, 2013 2:40 PM

    [the sound of wretching, agonizing dry heaves]

  29. Deb says: Mar 18, 2013 2:54 PM

    lakesidegator is a perfect example.

  30. lakesidegator says: Mar 18, 2013 3:31 PM

    Some folks are just truly “inspirational.”
    Many thanks. I feel much better now. 8>)

  31. Deb says: Mar 18, 2013 3:43 PM

    Really, lakesidegator? You found Dee Hart’s story of recovering from injury so inspirational that you had to wretch, vomit, and dry-heave all over the page? Yeah, that makes perfect sense. Of course, you did all that wretching and vomiting right after my posts, so maybe that was your problem. But then all I did was post exactly what many others posted, expressing disappointment that someone would wish injury on a kid and wishing the kids well. No attempt from me to be inspirational–just making the same comment others had made. Again, your wretching and heaving was really mature. I’m glad you feel better. Thanks for sharing. Your intelligence and maturity always brings so much to the discussion.

  32. packerbadger says: Mar 19, 2013 11:56 AM

    How come you never hear these words used in the same sentence: Alabama….Football …..Excellence in Education? You do for Wisconsin! Oh, hows Alabama doing in the NCAA basketball tournament? Oh, they didn’t make it!! Wisconsin is a #5 seed and have beaten the top ranked teams in the country several times. All Alabama has is football and win at all costs (ie cheat)….which means their players don’t have to go to school and get paid under the table! Like I said, a fair matchup between Alabama and Wisconsins’ best football teams would be the Green Bay Packers against Alabama. Neither go to school and they both get paid!

  33. normtide says: Mar 19, 2013 12:01 PM

    Congrats, you are now the ACC. Besides, I have as much evidence that uw, the packers, and the brewers are cheating as you have against Bama. More actually, Ryan Braun. It hurts that a pig farm in Arkansas is more attractive then the grand city of Madison. Hey man, you left to move south, so don’t be mad, bro.

  34. packerbadger says: Mar 19, 2013 12:01 PM

    gamustangd:
    I understand the gravity of returning from a second ACL injury, especially to the same leg.
    ==================================
    Um, no you don’t. What is/are your medical background and qualifications? Btw, SEC educational standards are the very bottom of the barrel. Win college football games at all costs, stay stupid.

  35. packerbadger says: Mar 19, 2013 12:25 PM

    Normtide: It hurts that a pig farm in Arkansas is more attractive then the grand city of Madison.
    ==================================
    Um, most of the people in Madtown are actually HAPPY he left. Couldn’t win the big one. Arrogant jerk…should fit right in with the SEC. We got a much better and higher class coach now. Braun is in the pro’s, not college. Madison has been ranked the #1 city in the country to live in several times and is always ranked near the top. How far is Tuscaloosa ranked? You are right in the south having lots of pigs in it though.

  36. normtide says: Mar 19, 2013 1:56 PM

    If it’s such a great city, why don’t any top athletes want to go there? Also, no one retires and moves north. People are flocking south from cities like Madison, and other parts of the state. Including yourself.

    As for Hart’s acl, Dr. Andrews is the team doctor, maybe you have heard of him. A great doctor, based in Alabama. Not Wisconsin.

  37. gamustangdude says: Mar 19, 2013 2:30 PM

    @packerbadger,

    Given that I’ve had two ACL tears to the same leg while wrestling in high school and college, I figure that gives me somewhat enough background/qualification to make my statement. Don’t worry you can take that foot out of your mouth now.

    As for the education comment, this is a football blog; nothing about this post mentioned anything about educational statistics. Thanks for coming out of left field with that one. Sure collectively the Big 10 is better overall than the SEC, congrats. However, you’re not setting a good example of that “higher” education by your recent posts, therefore I feel very confident about my intelligence compared to yours.

  38. lakesidegator says: Mar 19, 2013 4:13 PM

    Baaaaaaahahahahahahaha (seriously).

  39. packerbadger says: Mar 20, 2013 11:20 AM

    Being that I am a doctor and have had one ACL reconstruct and two additional scopes, I think I trump your stupid azz. I guess you forget that COLLEGE football implies that one must go to COLLEGE and get a frigging education as well as play football. You aren’t the sharpest spoon in the drawer if you don’t get that one. Just because you’ve had a procedure doesn’t automatically qualify you as an expert in a subject. Since you are/were a wrestler, how does the SEC compare to the BIG 10 in wrestling?

    Oh, btw, yeah, I’ve heard of Dr. Andrews….hows he doing for RG III? Get back to me on that one. LOL!

  40. gamustangdude says: Mar 20, 2013 12:12 PM

    First of all you asked what background I had to make my statement, me having experienced a similar injury is qualification enough for the comment I made. You assumed I had zero qualification, now you’re trying to trump stating your a doctor? Who cares, you made the incorrect assumption not me.
    Second, basd on your comments you’re not smart enough to be a doctor. Don’t worry this is the internet and you can type all the fantasies your poor heart desires.
    Last, just because i’m a UGA fan doesn’t mean I went to UGA. I went to a much better school considering the profession I’m in. Don’t worry, it’s not a “doctor” but it does pay the bills.

  41. normtide says: Mar 20, 2013 12:19 PM

    Pack has been a doctor, lawyer, astronaut, farmer, and professor. It just depends on what day he is posting. I wonder how many math blogs he posts on. Maybe he actually talks sports on one. He is that guy at the bar that can’t talk sports, so he downs everyone else’s comments. SEC teams are winning national championships across many sports. What has UW won a title in? Only one I know of is female brot eating contests.

  42. cometkazie says: Mar 20, 2013 4:41 PM

    And here we didn’t know spoons are supposed to be sharp.

    Learn something new every day! ;)

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