First, VanDarius Cowan was dismissed from the Crimson Tide football team. The next day, Terrell Lewis tore his ACL and was lost for the season. Now, following the release of Alabama’s roster at SEC Media Days, redshirt senior linebacker Keith Holcombe was not included in the 2018 football roster.
For those counting at home, that’s to three linebackers lost in the last week.
Holcombe, a former four-star recruit, entered his senior season as one of Alabama’s most experienced special teams players, as well as seeing in-game reps at linebacker. He was expected to compete for a starting job this year in an already depleted linebacking corps.
Fortunately for Holcombe, he’s healthy, and staying busy in Tuscaloosa for a different reason.
Rather than fall away from sports completely, Holcombe is turning his full attention towards Alabama’s baseball team. He competed with the Crimson Tide program the last three years.
In 2016, he started 32 games and played in 37. In 2017, after only a few series to start the year, he decided to focus full time on football.
In 2018, Holcombe became the Tide’s everyday left fielder, starting in 45 of 47 games played, hitting .290 with two home runs and 29 RBIs.
Alabama baseball finished the 2018 season with a 27-29 record, including an 8-22 mark in the SEC.
Holcombe attended Hillcrest High School, just six miles from the University of Alabama. Nick Saban’s staff recruited him out of high school, when ESPN ranked the 6-foot-4 prospect as the 13th-ranked player in the state of Alabama.
Back in June, Saban eluded to the idea that Holcombe might leave the Alabama football team to focus full-time on baseball.
“I haven’t talked to him yet, I did talk to him before (the draft), he wanted to continue to try and pursue his baseball career,” Saban said. “So, I haven’t talked with him since that.
“I think he can actually come back and play another year of baseball, if he chooses to do that. I will talk to him again, but when we had the last conversation, he was pretty much set on trying to play baseball.”
Three linebackers seems unusually high, but fear not, Alabama faithful: the Crimson Tide’s 2018 roster still lists 21 other players at the linebacker position.
Once the college football season kicks off, they’ll be just fine.
It’s better than this Nick Saban first pitch, at least.