Holcombe Follows In Dad's Footsteps

Keith Holcombe is very near to changing workout coaches; not that the one he has hasn't done a good job. Every day at 5 a.m., Keith and his father, former Alabama player Danny Holcombe, are at work in the gym. Soon Keith will be under the tutelage of Crimson Tide Strength and Conditioning Coach Scott Cochran. That's because on Wednesday Keith signed his national letter of intent to play for Bama

Keith Holcombe is a 6-3, 215-pound linebacker who starred at Hillcrest High School and was offered an Alabama scholarship last spring. He had initially committed to Mississippi State, but the lifelong Crimson Tide fan made the switch as soon as he got the offer from Coach Nick Saban. He signed Wednesday morning in a ceremony at Hillcrest.

Holcombe had a big senior season with 128 tackles, including 11 behind the line of scrimmage. He had seven tackles in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic.

"It's a big relief," Holcombe said following the signing. "It's a dream come true. Growing up in Tuscaloosa and hearing my dad tell stories about being an Alabama football player, it was a dream for me to play for Alabama. My family is ecstatic."

Danny, who grew up in Marietta, Ga., played on Coach Paul Bryant's last Alabama team. He was a center and guard and was the snapper when Peter Kim made the final points of the Bryant era in the Liberty Bowl in Memphis at the end of the 1982 season.

One thing that Keith's signing means is that the Holcombe family may soon begin going to Alabama football games again. For the past four years they have been primarily at Jacksonville State games, where Keith's brother, Max, is preparing for his final season with the Gamecocks while also working on his master's degree.

Keith said that Alabama coaches have told him he will likely be either a strongside linebacker or middle linebacker, depending on his weight. He would like to get up to 225, but doesn't want to lose his speed. He has been clocked at 4.44 in the 40-yard dash, and he has been told he will get a chance to play on special teams.

Holcombe said he thought he might have a chance at an Alabama scholarship after a good summer camp. "They told me I had a great camp and they'd be in touch," he said. "That's when I first thought I might end up at Alabama."

Scout.com ranks Holcombe as a four-star and the number 25 outside linebacker in the nation.

He said he has been compared to former Alabama linebacker Cory Reamer. "Maybe he wasn't the biggest and strongest, but he always went out and made plays," Holcombe said.

Danny Holcombe feels that he played for perhaps the best coach ever and that Keith is playing for the best coach now. "There are a lot of similarities," Danny Holcombe said. "They did a lot of things the same way: play good defense, get good kids, work as hard as you can, and hold everyone to a higher standard. That's the way it's always been. Put that with the tradition of Alabama. Mix all the ingredients and you can't be anything but successful.

"We're very excited that Keith will have that opportunity, to be a part of Alabama and to be a part of what Coach Saban is doing."

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