MOBILE, Ala. – Alabama safety DeMarcco Hellams strongly started his week at the Senior Bowl by picking off TCU quarterback Max Duggan in 7-on-7 drills. Getting his hands on the ball was a goal for Hellams as he works in front of NFL personnel, and he did just that on Tuesday.
“I’m here to answer any questions that these guys have, whether it’s on or off the field,” Hellams told BamaOnLine on Wednesday morning. “People wanna see me cover. I came out here to cover guys, came out here to run with guys. I just came out here to compete. I’m a competitor. I’m gonna just show coaches that I’m here to do everything.”
Known as a hard-hitting defensive back, Hellams led the Crimson Tide in tackles this past year with 108, which ranked third among all SEC defenders. He also recorded three tackles for loss, one sack, seven pass breakups, one interception and one forced fumble from his safety spot in Alabama’s secondary. But he knows teams want to see one thing from him this week.
“Cover,” Hellams said. “That’s something that I know I can do, so I just came down here to really be on the biggest stage against some of the best guys in the country. I came down here to do that.”
Hellams accepted his invitation to the Senior Bowl on Dec. 8 and playing in the all-star game for seniors was a goal he set for himself prior to the start of his final year with the Tide. He was one of several players that announced they were returning for the 2022 season rather than test the NFL waters. Hellams said coming back benefitted him both on and off the field.
“I was able to get my degree, which was something that was big for me to get,” Hellams said. “I was able to have another year under Coach Saban, another year playing in the SEC and just learning and being able to compete. Just improving my game was something I wanted to do coming back for my senior year.”
One of six Alabama players in Mobile for the annual event, Hellams has enjoyed the start to Senior Bowl week. He said being back in a competitive environment is “always good.” Relishing time spent in pads on the practice field is a mindset that teams like about Hellams.
“My relentlessness, that I’m a fierce competitor,” Hellams said. “I have a high football IQ, able to play a lot of different positions in the secondary and I’m able to get guys on the same page, as well.”
Being back around his Tide teammates is also a plus for participating in the Senior Bowl.
“It’s definitely good to be out here with the guys because we all support each other throughout this process,” Hellams said. “It’s good to put on that helmet again, just to be back with the guys. We’ve been keeping up with each other throughout this whole process, so it’s definitely good to get back down here and see the guys and have that support amongst other another this week.”
Hellams is moving on to the next level, as are several starting defensive back from last year’s team – including safeties Jordan Battle and Brian Branch and cornerback Eli Ricks. That means younger players that are returning to Tuscaloosa will have opportunities to fill in the voids left behind in the backend of the secondary. Hellams shared who he believes will step up.
“I honestly could name everyone because I’ve seen these guys work,” he said. “Whether it’s Kristian Story, DeVonta, Jake Pope, Caleb, I’ve seen all these guys work day in and day out. There’s definitely a lot of guys who will have their opportunity to play this year, and whoever is out there, I know they’ll do a good job.
“The guys that are coming back are ready for it. They learned from me and Jordan. They’re definitely guys that I have confidence in, I know the coaches have confidence in. I don’t think there will be anything to worry about with the secondary.”
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