You can take the football player out of Alabama, but you can’t take the Crimson Tide out of the football player.
Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix left Alabama as a highly decorated safety before becoming the 21st pick by the Green Bay Packers in the 2014 NFL draft.
The safety didn’t take to Twitter Friday to rip the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions or even the Minnesota Vikings, though.
Clinton-Dix’s contempt for the rival LSU Tigers remains strong, and he made sure to point out what type of hire the program made when Kevin Steele was named its new offensive coordinator.
The game Clinton-Dix referred to was the 2012 Orange Bowl. Steele was the defensive coordinator of the Clemson Tigers at the time. His defense surrendered 595 total yards to the West Virginia Mountaineers on their way to scoring 70 points.
The embarrassing performance eventually cost Steele his job.
Despite the pitiful performance and being a few years removed from defensive coordinator duties, LSU head coach Les Miles was excited about Steele’s inclusion to his coaching staff.
“He has a great defensive mind and he’s an outstanding recruiter,” Miles said when the hire was officially announced, per ESPN. “He knows our players and our system and his knowledge of the SEC and the SEC Western Division makes him a great fit. We are very excited the Kevin will be joining our staff.”
Miles and LSU might be excited about the hire, but Clinton-Dix obviously thinks it’s a joke.
Two Alabama players confirmed their plans to leave a year early for the NFL on Thursday. Star safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and left tackle Cyrus Kouandijo will each leave Tuscaloosa with one year of eligibility remaining.
Clinton-Dix and Kouandijo are each expected to go in the early rounds of the draft, potentially in the first round. Head coach Nick Saban was complimentary of the two defensive standouts as they made their decisions official.
”They’ve done a wonderful job representing this institution, their families and this football program,” Saban said in a statements shared by the Associated Press. ”They’ve been a part of at least two national championships. I know it’s difficult for each and every one of these players to make decisions. They all love the University of Alabama and they have to make a difficult business decision about what is best for their future.”
”Everybody has a personal situation with their family,” Kouandjio said. ”We have to put everything – my degree, and all these things like family – it all comes together and you have to make a decision and stick with it.”
On Wednesday Alabama linebacker Adrian Hubbard announced his decision to turn pro as well. Alabama defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan has also decided to turn pro a year early.
Alabama linebacker Adrian Hubbard will be the first underclassmen to declare for the NFL Draft from the Crimson Tide this season, but he likely will not be the last. According to a report by CBSSports.com, Hubbard is expected to leave with one year of eligibility remaining.
Hubbard recorded 31 tackles and three sacks for Alabama this past season. Multiple draft analysts seem to be suggesting Hubbard is expected to go in the second round of the NFL Draft. For a linebacker, that is a pretty strong assessment, as not many linebackers end up as first round draft picks.
Two linebackers were drafted in the first round in the 2013 NFL Draft. Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree, both from Georgia, were first round draft picks. Six linebackers were drafted in the second round. Two linebackers were drafted in the first round of the 2012 draft, with five more coming off the board in the second round. For a linebacker, the second round is a very respectable round to be drafted.
One player Alabama fans and draft folks are keeping tabs on is Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. He is expected to declare a year early for the NFL as well, but has not made announced an official decision just yet. The way Alabama has been recruiting in recent years though, it should be expected the Crimson Tide will have players ready to step in and take over at any position left with a vacancy in the starting line-up in 2014.
On a day full of upsets that will lead to a shuffling in the rankings on Sunday, Alabama once again stood high and mighty. Alabama dominated Arkansas in a 52-0 victory, their second straight shutout win against the Razorbacks in as many years. Alabama has outscored Arkansas in the past two games by a combined score of 104-0.
AJ McCarron had three touchdown passes before getting an early rest and the Crimson Tide rushed for 352 yards against an arkansas defense that is clearly a long way from being able to compete at this physical level. Kenyan Drake rushed for 104 yards and two touchdowns and TJ Yeldon added 88 yards and a touchdown. Alabama’s defense
The win was not without a cost for Alabama though. Safety Vinnie Sunseri was taken out of the game with an apparent leg injury. Players were seen consoling Sunseri on the sidelines after he returned without pads on, an ominous image for sure with regard to Sunseri’s status moving forward. The injury occurred in the same game Ha Ha Clinton-Dix returned from a brief suspension (two games).
Alabama is now 7-0 overall, with five games sitting between the two-time defending BCS champs and a perfect regular season. The biggest challenges left appear to be LSU (November 9) and the road game at Auburn on November 30. The Auburn game continues to become more of a threat for Alabama because the Tigers are hitting a stride right now. Auburn topped Texas A&M on Saturday to move to 6-1 overall.
Early in the year there was a concern about Alabama’s defense, but since the Texas A&M game the Crimson Tide has allowed just 16 points to five different opponents. Somehow Georgia State managed to score three points, a feat unable to be matched by two of Alabama’s SEC West rivals (Ole Miss and Arkansas). Have those defensive concerns been silenced? Probably. Next week Alabama hosts Tennessee, who upset South Carolina on Saturday.
Arkansas has now lost five straight games after a 3-0 start to the season. Next for the Razorbacks will be a home game against Auburn after a bye week next week.
Alabama’s secondary will receive a boost this weekend. Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix has been officially reinstated by the NCAA and is cleared to play. Clinton-Dix served a two-game suspension for a violation of team rules after being tied to an investigation relating to impermissible benefits. The NCAA has cleared Clinton-Dix and ruled he is eligible to play immediately.
Clinton-Dix is one of the top NFL prospects playing safety in the country, so the impact of his return should not be taken lightly. Alabama’s pass defense ranks second in the SEC, and it should only get stronger with the return of Clinton-Dix. The Tide may not be giving up a lot of passing yards, but they have just four interceptions this season. Clinton-Dix led Alabama with four interceptions last season.
Alabama faces Arkansas this weekend. The Razorbacks are ranked at the bottom of the sEC in passing offense and have been intercepted five times this season.