Most of the RBR readership have probably seen this by now, but we'll go ahead and address it anyway. There are a couple of reports out of Oklahoma quoting Barry Sanders, Jr., the son of Barry Sanders and a tailback prospect in the 2012 recruiting class being recruited heavily by Alabama, as saying that Nick Saban has told him that Alabama needs running backs, in part, because Mark Ingram is leaving early. Per the website OKBlitz.com:
"He just said 'We need running backs,'" Sanders said. "How Trent [Richardson] would be a senior if I were to go [to Alabama]. He told me Ingram's leaving, he's making it public probably Friday."
Saban came to Heritage Hall around noon Wednesday and picked up film on Sanders before receiving a tour of the school, during which he ran into Sanders.
Izzy Gould picked up on this report as well, writing an article essentially saying that a couple of sites out of Oklahoma were reporting this, but he was not independently reporting it himself.
In other words, we really do not have any official confirmation of this one way or the other. UA has not confirmed anything, nor has Nick Saban, nor Mark Ingram. No major national media organization is reporting this, nor are any of the major in-state publications that focus heavily on 'Bama news, such as the Tuscaloosa News, the Birmingham News, the Mobile Register, etc.
Now, having said all of that, we all know how this story is going to end. Mark Ingram will at some point between now and January 15th announce that he will forgo his senior season at Alabama and enter the 2011 NFL Draft. He is NFL ready now, a definite first round pick, he has accomplished everything there is to accomplish on the collegiate level, and given the very short careers of NFL tailbacks he needs to make all the money he can while his body allows it. He's going to leave early -- as will Marcell Dareus -- and there is no real uncertainty involved in any of it. Julio Jones and Mark Barron may possibly be in play, but this is the end of the road for Ingram.
For now, though, while it will ultimately come to fruition, this report does seem to be somewhat premature and has not been confirmed through any official channels. We'll update more when things become official, but for now that moment has not yet arrived.