Will DeMarcco Hellams Start at Safety in 2021?
During his time in Tuscaloosa, coach Nick Saban has had three safeties drafted in the first round. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Mark Barron and Minkah Fitzpatrick all heard their name called on day one of the NFL Draft and Jordan Battle could be the next.
One of the biggest questions heading into spring practice is who will start opposite of Battle in 2021. Daniel Wright started 10 games as a redshirt junior, but his inconsistent play cost him his starting spot. DeMarcco Hellams stepped in and started both of the College Football Playoff games. Hellams also replaced Wright against Ole Miss and finished the game with six tackles.
The Washington D.C. native made his first career start in Alabama’s 41-24 win over Georgia. Hellams finished the game with a team-leading 11 tackles. Against LSU, he saw extended playing time and accounted for eight tackles and half a tackle for loss. Hellams also earned defensive player of the week recognition from the Alabama coaches for his play against Mississippi State.
In the Rose Bowl semifinal against Notre Dame, Hellams finished the game with a new career-best and game-high 12 tackles and a sack. In the national championship, he totaled four tackles.
Hellams was a four-star recruit in the 2019 recruiting cycle coming out DeMatha Catholic High School in Maryland. He participated in Nike's "The Opening" and earned Washington Post "Metro Offensive Player of the Year" honors.
As a freshman, Hellams saw action in all 13 games registering four tackles and half a sack, while appearing mostly on special teams.
In 2020, he shined on special teams, earning special teams player of the week honors from the Alabama coaches in games against Missouri, Arkansas and Florida. Hellams also saw an increased role in the Crimson Tide defense, totaling 62 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, three pass breakups and a sack on the season.
The secondary is a strength for Alabama heading into next season. Hellams will also have to battle Brian Branch and others for the safety spot opposite Battle.