4-star inside linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton is ready to make his decision, and there are some major SEC and Pac-12 programs in the running for his commitment.
Hamilton is a big-time recruit out of Montgomery, Alabama, so he's going to represent a big recruiting win for the lucky recipient of his commitment. He's 6'1'', 224 pounds and runs a 4.65 40 according to 247Sports—as an inside linebacker mind you.
According to Greg Ostendorf of ESPN.com, Hamilton will make his decision on April 17th:
The announcement date is set -- April 17. The finalists include Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Tennessee, UCLA and USC. Hamilton still plans to do a ceremony at his high school, but he’s not one for all the fanfare that comes with recruiting.
Ostendorf also discusses the potential favorites, with both in-state schools having a good chance:
Who has the advantage? Alabama offered the 2014 linebacker last month, and it could come down to a battle between two bitter rivals, Alabama and Auburn.
“Both of those schools are the in-state schools,” Hamilton said. “I’ve built a relationship with both coaching staffs. Both of them are close to home, and the in-state rivalry, it doesn’t get any better than that.”
That said, another very interesting SEC program is also in good shape, per Ostendorf:
Another school to keep an eye on is Tennessee. Hamilton visited Knoxville this weekend.
“It went real good,” he said. “I really enjoyed hanging out with the coaches, hanging out with Coach [Tommy] Thigpen and Coach [Willie] Martinez. Coach Thig and I had a relationship at Auburn, so we kind of kept that going on.”
Keep in mind that Hamilton also has two Pac-12 powers on his final list in USC and UCLA, and both of those programs would be extremely interesting options if he chose to go the west coast route.
In fact, Jim Mora and the Bruins have been extremely hot on the recruiting trail, so there's a chance that their momentum from the 2013 cycle could carry over here.
That said, it's extremely hard and almost unrealistic to see Hamilton leaving SEC country. In fact, it's extremely tough to see him leaving the state.
Ostendorf also reported that he's planning on visiting Alabama's spring practice this weekend, and then Auburn later on in the month. It really seems as if he has his mind set on either of the two in-state programs, and frankly, what's not to like about playing in-state for either of the two SEC powers?
Alabama speaks for itself, and it's national championship draw is absolutely undeniable. Auburn made the right move by hiring Gus Malzahn as head coach, and based on his first recruiting cycle, the future of the program looks extremely bright.
Which conference will Hamilton end up in?
The Crimson Tide could provide Hamilton with the big wins in the here and now, but Auburn may provide more on-field opportunities, especially considering that the Tigers lost out on 5-star 2013 inside linebacker Reuben Foster, who committed to Alabama.
Either way, the state of Alabama seems to be the place to be for Hamilton, and it should come down to the question of which program.
Tennessee is an interesting option, Florida could be a powerhouse defensively and USC and UCLA are big-draws, but expect Hamilton to stay in the SEC, and more specifically in the state of Alabama.