Alabama didn’t escape the SEC Championship Game unscathed. Starting LB Shaun Dion Hamilton injured his knee during the blowout victory and will miss the College Football Playoff.

However, the Crimson Tide have an able backup waiting in the wings in junior Rashaan Evans, a former five-star recruit.

According to, coach Nick Saban said he expects Evans to pick up the slack in the absence of the talented Hamilton:

“We have a lot of confidence in him,” Saban said. “Physically, he can run. He’s a good blitzer. He’s a good tackler. So hopefully knowledge and experience is something that we can gain through this extra practice and it’ll be helpful to him so that he can play well.”

Senior LB Reuben Foster, who will be starting alongside Evans in the College Football Playoff, is also confident in Evans’ abilities:

“He’s embracing it well,” Foster said of Evans’ opportunity to start, “getting in extra film, working hard, effort. The toughness is already there. I ought to know, I play with him. It’s comfortable, I like it.

“It’s bad news for Shaun Hamilton, but he’s got the rest of his college career to get back out there.”

Evans, Foster and the Alabama defense will need to be clicking from the start of the Peach Bowl in order to slow down Washington’s explosive offense.

The Peach Bowl is scheduled to kick off at 2 p.m. Central time on Saturday, Dec. 31. The New Year’s Eve game can be seen on ESPN.