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May 1, 2008Alabama football player Charles Hoke will spend his senior year at the Capstone on the medical hardship list, effectively ending his playing career.
Hoke's father said a shoulder injury prompted the decision, according to media reports, leaving the senior from Birmingham Briarwood Christian unable to continue his career. Although Hoke spent only one day during spring practice in a black non-contact jersey, Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban noted that Hoke's shoulder injury was a recurring issue.
Hoke (6-foot-7, 250 pounds) was switched from tight end to the offensive line during spring drills, and worked with the second unit at left tackle for most of the spring. As a tight end, he did not catch a pass as a junior in 2007 and contributed on the scout team.
With Hoke on the medical list, the Crimson Tide now has 65 returning scholarship players, meaning as of now, only 20 players from the nation's No.1-rated recruiting class could enroll this fall. Two signees, Corey Smith and Chris Jackson, enrolled early, participated in the spring and are already on the roster. The NCAA allows a maximum of 25 new recruits on scholarship each fall. More offseason attrition will be required if UA is to enroll the maximum.
The careers of two other Alabama players - Ezekial Knight and Prince Hall - are pending. Knight hopes to return from heart-related issues that prevented him from participating in spring practice, while Hall has been suspended indefinitely.
Among the candidates to step into Hoke's role is Scott Deaton, who worked some with the third group at left tackle during the spring.