Draft's top free safety, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, reinstated by NCAA

By Rob Rang | The Sports Xchange/CBSSports.com

As if the undefeated two-time defending BCS champion Crimson Tide needed any help, star free safety Hasean Clinton-Dix has been reinstated by the NCAA and is eligible to play as early as Saturday against Arkansas.

Clinton-Dix, who often goes by his nickname Ha Ha, found that borrowing a small amount of money from a coach was no laughing matter by the NCAA. He reportedly borrowed between $100-300 from assistant strength coach Corey Harris. Though the athlete paid back the debt, the loan is impermissable and resulted in Clinton-Dix being suspended since October 2. Harris has been placed on administrative leave.

Though he's only a junior, Clinton-Dix ranks among the top defensive backs in the country and NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated free safety potentially eligible for the 2014 draft. The preseason All-American is currently rated as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 30 overall prospect and is featured in both Dane Brugler and my own first round mock drafts. I have him at No. 28 on my Big Board.

Through four games this season, Clinton-Dix posted 24 tackles and two passes broken up. Last year, he led the Tide with five interceptions, including picks in each of Alabama's final three games.

The 6-foot-1, 208 pound defender is a rangy, athletic centerfielder with excellent vision and ball skills. Death, taxes and a Nick Saban-coached defensive back earning first-round grades from NFL scouts are among the sure things in life.

With Clinton-Dix unable to practice with the team while serving his suspension, it remains to be seen how much action he'll against against the Razorbacks. Alabama hosts Tennessee October 26 before LSU, the most gifted offense remaining on the regular season schedule, comes to Tuscaloosa November 9.

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