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Sam Burnthall Leaves Team

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According to published reports, Alabama junior defensive back Sam Burnthall has left the team citing personal reasons.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban said in a statement, "We have granted him his release and wish him the best."

Burnthall signed with the Tide in 2005 in Mike Shula's second recruiting class. Coming out of Decatur High School, Burnthall was a lightly-recruited safety / linebacker prospect, and was rated as a two-star by both major recruiting services. He was teammates in high school with Jerraud Powers, and Alabama pursued him heavily as well, but he ultimately signed with Auburn and has went onto a good career on the Plains.

The departure of Burnthall is almost certainly an issue of playing time. He was never able to get any legitimate amount of playing time even when competing against fellow Shula recruits, and last season as a sophomore he got into only three games on the year (all in special teams duty, if I recall correctly). Going forward into the 2008 campaign, he was unlikely to see any meaningful playing time.

Either way, best of luck to him.