31 Days Away from Bama Kickoff: Sam Shade
Each day counting down to Alabama's Week 1 matchup with Utah State, I will highlight one former player whose jersey number coincides with the amount of days until the game. Kickoff is just 31 days away, so let's look at a former Crimson Tide defender who has made quite a name for himself after football in the coaching world, Sam Shade.
Sam Shade suited up at safety for the Crimson Tide from 1991-94, and a was a key piece of the memorable 1992 National Championship squad.
Originally hailing from Birmingham, AL, Shade was a star at Wenonah High School before coming to Tuscaloosa.
In his freshman season, the exciting prospect did not see the field, but as a sophomore, stepped into a larger role within the defense. Shade saw time in 12 games in 1992, finishing the season with two interceptions and helping his team to the aforementioned National Championship.
Alabama won a memorable matchup against the red hot Miami Hurricanes where Shade hauled in one of two picks on the season.
In his third year with the program, Shade remained as the starting safety and helped lead the team to another solid season. Alabama finished the year 9-3-1, and the junior hauled in two more interceptions on the year.
In Shade's final year on the team, he kept his role as a starter and nearly helped lead yet another SEC Championship winning defense, but Alabama came up short against Florida. Despite the somewhat disappointing result of the season, the senior played well enough to declare for the 1995 NFL Draft and be selected in the fourth round.
The former Bama star spent eight seasons in the NFL, playing four years for both Cincinnati and Washington. He compiled 528 tackles, 24 pass deflections and 10 interceptions before calling it a career in 2002.
Shade quickly worked his way into the coaching ranks, beginning in 2004 as a volunteer at Briarwood Christian High School before joining Samford as a special teams and defensive passing game coordinator.
He spent six years with the Bulldogs (2009-15) before moving once more to take on the role of cornerbacks coach at Georgia State. Shade was a member of the Panther staff for just a single season, and joined the Cleveland Browns in 2018.
Since his NFL stint, the Birmingham native spent time in the high school ranks once again, but as a the head coach at Pinson Valley. Shade guided the Indians to a 22-6 record across two seasons and won a state championship in 2020.
Now, the Bama legend serves as the head coach at Miles College in Fairfield, AL. 2022 will be Shade's first season as a head coach in the collegiate ranks, but he has seen success everywhere he has been thus far.