For a player that has yet to play a snap as a member of the Alabama Crimson Tide, Brent Calloway has already experienced the ups and downs of being a high-profile athlete at a big-time school.
After taking a redshirt last season, he will likely let out a sigh of relief after he gets his first taste of game action this fall.
Calloway has been on campus for less than a year, and managed to make headlines last fall for the wrong reasons, but the latest twist in his career involves a position change.
Before spring practice got underway last Friday, Saban announced that Calloway would switch from running back to linebacker—a move that is not permanent, but mainly an effort to see where he can make the most significant contribution to the team.
With the projected starter at running back, Eddie Lacy, out for the spring nursing a toe injury that required offseason surgery, the timing for the move is somewhat curious considering Alabama will have just three healthy scholarship running backs available during spring practice.
Calloway was one of the cornerstones of Nick Saban’s 2011 signing class, and, like 2012 signee T.J. Yeldon, his recruitment became a lightning rod for the never-ending feud between Alabama and Auburn.
After being committed to the Crimson Tide for nearly a year, Calloway shocked the state by announcing a switch to Auburn—ironically, due to his desire to play running back—during the nationally televised U.S. Army All-American game.
Calloway followed through on his original commitment by signing with Alabama last February, but redshirted due to a crowded depth chart in the Tide backfield.
Instead of challenging the likes of Yeldon in the backfield, Calloway will join a young but talented crop of inside linebackers vying for playing time.
With Dont’a Hightower’s spot vacant and senior Nico Johnson manning the other inside slot, the depth chart provides Calloway with an opportunity to find a permanent home.
Considering the value of linebackers in Alabama’s 3-4 defensive scheme, Calloway could thrive—and perhaps bolster his chances at the next level—if he is able to make a smooth transition to defense in the coming weeks.
Calloway played both ways and recorded over 100 tackles and 22 sacks at linebacker as a senior at Russellville (AL) High School en route to being named the 2010 Class 5A Back of the Year.
With the issue of where he will line up in the background for now, Calloway has a chance to let his natural ability on the field take over.
After a rocky beginning to his career, settling on a position and finding a new home on defense may ultimately be the best thing for Calloway’s future.