The question everyone had been asking was answered when ex-Alabama running back Dee Hart donned the No. 10 practice jersey Monday for the Colorado State football team. It looks like the former US Army All-American is in Fort Collins to stay.
Reports of Hart’s possible transfer first surfaced last week when the redshirt junior confirmed to the Orlando Sentinel that he was en route to Fort Collins and intended to play for Ram head coach Jim McElwain, who was the offensive coordinator in 2011 when Hart signed with the Crimson Tide.
However McElwain, nor any member of the Colorado State athletic department could comment on Hart’s status with the team until he had officially enrolled at the University. That changed Monday afternoon when McElwain addressed reporters after the team’s first day of fall camp.
“His people contacted us about his interest in playing here and then from there the people in Compliance handled it through all the transfer rules and documentation, and Dee’s just here to try to make out football team,” McElwain said after Monday’s practice.
Hart, who played for two seasons at Alabama, graduated this past weekend from Alabama with a Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and will begin his quest towards a Master’s degree in education this fall.
Following two prior knee surgeries and an arrest earlier this year for marijuana possession, Hart hopes to prove to not only the fans, but also himself, that he is type of person and player that McElwain recruited beginning in his freshman year of high school.
“I’m a pretty good running back and I’ve always had confidence in myself but the guys I’m surrounded with here, Bryce (Peters) and JO (Jasen Oden), they’ve been helping me to get just acclimated with everything, especially this weather,” Hart said.
Along with Oden and Peters, Hart joins walk-on Eric Williams as well freshmen Deron Thompson, Jonathan Lewis, and junior college transfer Treyous Jarrells as players vying for carries with the Rams’ first-team offense. But contrary to many players who come from elite-caliber programs, Hart doesn’t expect anything more than to be given a shot to compete.
“We don’t talk about who we were in high school or anything like that,” Hart said. “We don’t talk about whether we were a five-star or not because that’s the past tense. It comes down to what you’re going to do out here for the team now.”
Collegian Sports Editor Keegan Pope can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @kpopecollegian.