11 June 2008
| Ezekial Knight - #47 - LB - 6-4 - 235 lbs - Wedowee, Al - Randolph County HS - 3 Varsity Letters
A coach’s dream, Zeke played his 3rd different position in 2007 – following up wide receiver and defensive end with an impressive turn at SAM Linebacker. Zeke really grew into the role over the course of the season, and by season’s end, was easily Bama’s most effective outside linebacker; effective as both a pass rusher, and a pass defender.
Unfortunately injury is a massive problem for Zeke. And unlike a lot of cases, where a shoulder or knee injury can be fixed with surgery, the problem here is far more complex. In February of 2007 Knight had heart surgery to correct a heart murmur, and while everything appeared to go well during the season, appearances can be deceiving. On January 29th of this year, Knight was taken to the hospital after a workout, and rumors began to circulate from among his teammates that Zeke silently struggled through the 2007 season, keeping his health issues a secret from both coaches and doctors.
At the moment, however, that is just rumor. What we know for a fact is that following his trip to the hospital, Knight was held out of all of Spring Practice, and has still yet to be cleared for workouts, much less for participation in football drills. The exact problem this time is not known, at least not publicly. Rumors have suggested that things might still be a mystery to his doctors, and that a trip to the Mayo Clinic might be forthcoming.
: Zeke is a warrior, and if given the opportunity to play, will almost certainly do so. If he is able to play, it changes the entire defensive outlook for the Tide, giving them a veteran playmaker on the strongside of the line. Zeke has the build, the athleticism, the savvy, and the aggression to be a great linebacker. If he can get healthy, he's physically gifted enough to make an NFL roster following a great Senior season at Alabama.
Given the potential severity of his condition, however, I think it is unlikely that he’ll be cleared by Alabama’s team doctors. My fear is that we'll see Zeke granted a medical hardship waiver, which will effectively end his collegiate career. Let’s hope I’m wrong.