VESTAVIA HILLS – The Alabama baseball team can expect to get Keith Holcombe back for one more season after he wasn’t chosen in this week’s MLB draft. But he may have played his last snap at linebacker for the football team.
Holcombe spent the entire spring with the Alabama baseball program and became the starting left fielder. He still has one year of eligibility left in football and baseball as a redshirt senior.
Alabama football coach Nick Saban said Thursday that he hasn’t spoken to Holcombe since the draft finished on Wednesday night but that their last conversation indicated he would continue his baseball career.
“I talked to him before (the draft),” Saban said. “He wanted to continue to try to pursue his baseball career. So I haven’t talked to him since that. I think he can actually come back and play another year of baseball if he chooses to do that. So I will talk to him again. But when we had the last conversation, he was pretty much set on trying to play baseball.”
This was the first time Holcombe focused fully on baseball during the spring. He has missed fall baseball practice while playing football. He said earlier this spring that he hadn’t made a decision on his future yet.
He hit .290 this season with two home runs, nine doubles and 29 RBIs while starting 45 games. He posted a .372 on-base percentage and also stole six bases.
The Hillcrest High School product was also a rotation player at inside linebacker, finishing the season with 38 tackles and starting three games. He led the team with 11 tackles on special teams and was chosen as special teams player of the week five times.
Holcombe would likely provide important depth at linebacker again this fall if he chose to finish his football career. Alabama will be breaking in two new starters at inside linebacker, and Holcombe is the most experienced player at that position.
“I’m not comfortable at any position on our team relative to the depth that we had,” Saban said. “I wish we had more depth. I wish we had more players. I wish more guys could contribute. Regardless of that circumstance, we will try to develop and create whatever we have to do to try to develop depth at any position on our team. If it involves moving players, if it involves trying to enhance the development of younger players, then that’s what we’ll do.”