With 4 former 5-star RBs, Alabama backfield will see battle of the spring
We’re taking a look at each position group as Alabama prepares to open spring practice next week. The second of a nine-part series looks at the running backs.
Projected depth chart
— Damien Harris, junior, leading rusher in 2016 with 1,037 yards
— Bo Scarbrough, junior, exploded late in the season in the SEC Championship, Peach Bowl and championship game.
— Josh Jacobs, sophomore, the surprise of last season ran for 567 yards on 85 tries.
— B.J. Emmons, sophomore, a season-ending injury limited this former five-star to 35 carries and 173 yards.
— Najee Harris, freshman, early enrollee
— Brian Robinson, freshman, early enrollee
— Derrick Gore, 18 carries, 93 yards
Due to arrive in the fall
This will be a fascinating group to track this spring and summer. It’s hard to imagine a time with more talent assembled at this position, save for maybe the Mark Ingram-Trent Richardson-Eddie Lacy overlap in 2010.
This time, it’s about the depth. There are four running backs who were five-star recruits in this group. Bo Scarbrough lived up to his hype as last season ended. Damien Harris was steady all season, quietly hitting the 1,000-yard mark. Jacobs and Emmons both showed real potential as freshmen.
Any of those four would almost certainly start at the vast majority of schools out there.
Now add one of the best overall recruits in the country.
Najee Harris enrolled this January as one of the more celebrated running backs in a program with a history of that. Brian Robinson, a four-star from Hillcrest in Tuscaloosa, also brings the kind of versatility Nick Saban likes in a running back.
It’ll be interesting to see how things are divided on A-Day with young talent mixing with two established players and two rising sophomores. Saban has always made it clear that the best players would be on the field regardless of age. That was made clear last fall at quarterback.
Among the questions: Where do you draw the line in the rotation? Regardless, capable backs will be on the outside. That only makes the spring competition more intriguing.
The dynamic of new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll and fewer established receiving targets will also be a factor here. Calvin Ridley is back, but receivers No. 2-4 (ArDarius Stewart, O.J. Howard and Gehrig Dieter) on the stat sheet are gone.
This was already a run-heavy offense and this legion of running backs would only strengthen the case to continue that trend.
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Published at Tue, 14 Mar 2017 12:37:05 +0000