Alabama football: Hightower out; Harris back soon

According to the AP, “The Tide did get timely news on the status of another linebacker. Sophomore Jerrell Harris will return from an NCAA suspension for the Oct. 17 game with South Carolina. Harris was battling for a starting job in fall camp and was a backup at two spots.” (you can read the entire AP report embedded in this post.)

AP: When Dont’a Hightower went to the sidelines, the other half of No. 3 Alabama’s formidable inside linebacking duo took it hard.

Rolando McClain wasn’t thinking what losing one of the Crimson Tide’s top defenders on Saturday would mean to the team either. A day later, Alabama’s fears were realized when Hightower was diagnosed with a torn ligament in his left knee that would require surgery and end his season.

“He’s not just my teammate, he’s like a little brother to me,” McClain said on Monday. “We’ve been like that since he got here. When he went out, it was like a part of me went out.”

Indeed, the two were frequently mentioned as a package deal. The All-American McClain and his wing man, regarded as one of the nation’s best linebacking tandems and a key part of the No. 2 rated defense.

The Tide (4-0), which visits Kentucky on Saturday, does have options for replacing the 6-foot-4, 255-pound Hightower, a sophomore who was an immediate starter a year ago.

Sophomore Jerrell Harris was battling for one of the starting linebacker spots in fall camp, but has missed the first four games on an NCAA suspension. The Tide found out on the eve of Saturday’s 35-7 win over Arkansas that Harris would be allowed to return in three weeks against South Carolina.