I've seen some chatter around here talking about what the RB position will look like next year for Bama, more specifically the pecking order, potential position changes, recruits, etc. I decided to take it upon myself to do some research and present it here. I will go in order of the possible 2013 depth chart, in my opinion.
1. Eddie Lacy, Senior (class listed is what the player is expected to be in fall 2013), 6'-0" 220, Geismar, LA
2. TJ Yeldon, Sophomore, 6'-2" 216, Daphne, AL
via www.bloguin.comPending Lacy's decision, this could be Yeldon's backfield for the next couple years. We know that Saban/Nussmeier's system will allow for plenty of players to get carries, but I expect Yeldon to get the lion's share. If he continues to improve and eliminates the minor ball security issue we saw late in the season (I hesitate to even call it an issue, since only one fumble is his responsibility), he could easily land on 2013 Heisman lists. With the possibility that 3 O-lineman will enter the 2012 draft, the sledding next year will inevitably be tougher, but the confidence in the rising Sophomore is sky high.
3. Jalston Fowler, RS Junior (assuming medical redshirt 2012), 6'-1" 242, Mobile, AL
4. Kenyan Drake, Sophomore, 6'-1" 204, Powder Springs, GA
via binaryapi.ap.orgWe all saw glimpses of the potential with Drake in several games this year. With so many chances for playing time in mop-up duty against overmatched teams this year for the Tide, Drake saw 39 carries for 273 yards, even while starting the year 5th on the depth chart. Honestly this is a tough depth chart to crack, with talent from top to bottom, I think Drake's added experience and skill set will land him right in the middle. This is a guy who could easily be starting at many other places in the league in 2013.
5. Dee Hart, RS Sophomore, 5'-9" 190, Orlando, FL
via media.al.comDee will be entering his third year with Bama in 2013, It seems like just yesterday he was decommitting from Michigan and starting to get noticed by Tide fans. The potential with Hart is very high, but concerns over multiple serious knee injuries, as well as a smaller build than the other backs on the depth chart, lands him down slightly in the pecking order. Every Tide fan is rooting hard for Hart, but it looks like 2013 will be more of a special teams/special offensive package year for Hart, assuming he returns from his injury healthy.
6. Altee Tenpenny, Freshman, 6'-0" 212, North Little Rock, AR
Altee Tenpenny Highlights - Full Ride Stud of the Week (via BleacherReport)This is the part of the depth chart where the order gets difficult. Without seeing incoming Freshmen run against similar competition, it is tough to predict who will come in the most ready. As far as a pure frame/build perspective, Tenpenny certainly fits the bill. He is the closest to the Mark Ingram/Trent Richardson/TJ Yeldon mold of the freshmen expected to compete for the RB position. Of those three mentioned above, Tenpenny runs most like Yeldon, in the mold of smooth upright runners like Adrian Peterson. The concern with Tenpenny is whether we hang on to his commitment now with the newly hired RB-centric Coach in his home state.
7. Tyren Jones, Freshman, 5'-8", 185, Marietta, GA
Tyren Jones Senior Season Highlights (via k9dnice93)This may be the most interesting case of the three newcomers. It is hard not to get excited about Jones's potential when watching his tape. He has a smaller stature than any Bama backs in recent memory, most similar to Dee Hart, but when watching tape he really looks like the second coming of Shady McCoy. Very shifty, gets lost behind the O-line, then accelerates quickly through holes with one strong cut. Even shows willingness to throw his weight around and make hits, but whether that aspect translates past the high school level remains to be seen.
8. Derrick Henry, Freshman, 6'-3", 243, Yulee, FL
2013 Running Back Derrick Henry Ultimate Highlights (via Prep1Force)This is another interesting one. Many see Henry changing sides of the ball when he gets to T-town. With his size and speed, it's not hard to envision an absolute terror for opposing offenses. But I'm not so sure this happens. Derrick has been a RB his entire life, and has said numerous times that RB is where he wants to be at Bama. This guy is big. When I watch his tape, I immediately think of big Marcus Dupree, tearing up what looks like midgets in opposing jerseys trying to tackle him. Everyone knows his numbers, (if not, he broke the long standing HS career total yardage record a few weeks back, finishing with over 12,200 yards, including 4,292 this year) but they come with the disclaimer that his HS team plays at the 4A level (In Florida, the 8A division is the highest), he received around 40 carries a game this season, and the opposing players in the SEC will not look like midgets compared to him. Henry has the talent and size to quickly rise the depth chart, but until we see how he stacks up in spring ball (he is scheduled to enroll in January), he will be looking up.