Fall Camp Preview – Running Backs
Instead of arguing against hurry up offenses, with the stable of running backs the Crimson Tide has in the backfield perhaps Saban should be arguing to use more footballs. Sadly, there’s only one football to go around and the consensus is that TJ Yeldon, Kenyan Drake and Derrick Henry will be the one’s seeing it the most at the RB position. Unless something changes (injuries, mainly), that leaves the beastly Jalston Fowler, Dee Hart and the 4 star trio of signees Alvin Kamara, Tyren Jones and Atlee Tenpenny on the outside looking in for 2013.
TJ Yeldon – 6’2, 216 Sophomore: Yeldon is the bell cow this season, plain and simple. NFL.com ranks him among their top 10 college players and it’s no wonder. Yeldon is big, elusive and can catch the ball out of the backfield. He’s everything you’d want out of a running back and he looked the part of a future NFL first rounder in the spring. He was particularly effective as a receiver so look for his role to be expanded in the passing game this fall.
Kenyan Drake – 6’1, 204 Sophomore: Ability will never be Kenyan Drake’s issue and he proved that time and time again during his mop up duty appearances last season. His 6.7 yards per carry was better than that of Lacy (6.5) or Yeldon (6.3) but his inability to block and a glaring case of fumble-itis continually conspire to keep him off the field. There wasn’t as much of a buzz about him as I would have liked during the spring but I suspect this talented back will take a big step forward this fall.
Derrick Henry – 6’3, 242 True Freshman: Oh Henry. Why oh why did you have to get hurt before we got to see you in the A-Day game?? If there was one person who earned the most praise during spring practice it was easily Derrick Henry. People this big shouldn’t have the ability to move like a smaller back. RBs who are this big shouldn’t have the speed of a smaller back. But, Henry does (and then some). I can’t wait for those of you who haven’t seen him to get a chance to see him tote the rock – he’s exceptional and will be a force to be reckoned with this fall.
Jalston Fowler – 6’1, 242 Junior: The Beast returns this season after suffering a knee injury last season. Just as Fowler was showing his worth as an H-back, a fullback and a tailback, Fowler blew out his knee early in the season. Since he was sidelined during the spring, it remains to be seen if “Nudie” makes a full and healthy comeback. But, with the stable of horses behind him ready to take some carries, I think his role will shift solely to H-back and fullback this season.
Dee Hart – 5’9, 190 Sophomore: With Dee spending more than half the spring at the defensive back position, one has to wonder just how much time he’ll get at RB. With Yeldon, Drake and Henry clearly in front of him, it will be imperative for him to hold off the likes of Tenpenny, Kamara and Jones during fall camp. Coming off of two knee surgeries, this would appear to be a pretty difficult task.
Newcomers: When a school brings in a top 100 running back, it’s pretty big news. When a school brings in THREE of them, well, it’s kind of obscene. Altee Tenpenny (6’0, 212), Alvin Kamara (5’10, 197) and Tyren Jones (5’9, 215) will all have approximately 2 weeks of fall camp or so to vault themselves ahead of Dee Hart and squarely into the mix at running back. We think to the victor will go the spoils and feel the other two will likely be headed for a redshirt (barring injury). Fall camp will be fun to watch as these three highly talented backs will be competing for playing time.
Fall Camp Previews