As the drama continues regarding hot items like Landon Collins' mother and where Dorial Green-Beckham will end up, the lesser known players are only concerned with what they have to do. Deion Belue is one of them.
Deion Belue had previously committed to the Tide, but academic issues forced him to take the junior college path.
Belue is only a 3-star recruit and he only has two years of eligibility left after playing two years (2010-2011) at Northeast Mississippi Community College. That doesn't leave a lot of time to develop him.
A redshirt is a possibility for Belue, but not likely. Nick Saban brought this young cornerback in to contribute immediately.
Belue will be looked upon to help in the punt return game, but cornerback is where Saban needs help, and quickly.
Dre Kirkpatrick, the best overall corner on the team, is heading for the NFL. DeQuan Menzie, also a former JUCO transfer, is also headed for the NFL, but only because he's exhausted his eligibility. Phelon Jones, a former LSU cornerback, is also graduating and was Kirkpatrick's primary backup.
Only one cornerback with notable experience is returning: DeMarcus Milliner.
Milliner is quite a talent as well, as the former 5-star recruit is the No. 1 cornerback in his class. He'll be a junior this year and probably wont be around in 2013. He was put through trial by fire in 2010 when he started much of the season as a true freshman while DeQuan Menzie was injured.
Milliner will be the Tide's best cornerback, but there are few options to help him out. The secondary as a whole will be very solid, especially with safety Robert Lester returning, but the cornerback squad is a bit thin.
I have a strong feeling that former 5-star safety Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix will be moved to cornerback, as the safety position is already deep. Clinton-Dix is more than capable of playing corner and Vinnie Sunseri is more than capable of being a starting safety.
Fellow junior college transfer Travell Dixon looks to be the most likely starter opposite of Milliner. Highly-touted incoming freshman Geno Smith is getting a lot of hype, but for a team that wants to go all the way each year Saban tries to avoid playing freshman defensive backs extensively. Even 5-star Milliner struggled in his freshman year.
The cornerback position needs some depth with experience, and Deion Belue provides that.
Belue is not a big guy at 170 lbs., but at 6'0" he's tall enough to keep quarterbacks from passing over his head. He's a bit Honey Badger-esque with his playmaking abilities but his height keeps him from being a liability, as Tryann Mathieu's was in the national championship game.
He's also a speedster. He's no Deion Sanders, but Scout had him clocked with a 4.3 40-yard time. His speed is going to make him difficult to separate from and could make him dangerous in the return game.
His weight will work itself out under strength coach Scott Cochran. He could easily close in on 190-200 lbs. by his senior year in 2013. That is the year Belue could be the most valuable because, as stated before, DeMarcus Milliner is likely headed for the NFL after this coming season.
Deion Belue has all the tools he needs to be great, and under a coaching staff that is venerated for producing top-notch defensive backs year in and year out he just might become another great Alabama cornerback.
Deion Belue's potential is much higher than his 3-star rating lets on, and that is why he may be the most underrated commitment for the Tide's 2012 recruiting class.
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