Richardson’s game film from Alabama — where he rushed for 1,583 yards as a junior to help lead the Crimson Tide to a national championship — was so impressive that the Browns traded up from the No. 4 pick in the draft to guarantee his services. New offensive coordinator Brad Childress will use the 5-foot-10, 224-pound Richardson in ways similar to Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin when he was head coach of the Minnesota Vikings. "They’re doing a lot of stuff with me as far as coming out of the backfield," Richardson said of Cleveland’s off-season practices. "They’re really putting me out there to showcase everything. "There ain’t no sugarcoating. I’m going to get the ball. I’m going to catch the ball. I’m going to block. I’m going to do everything I can and they’re going to put me in the best situation. I want to be that guy they don’t have to take off the field."
OG Anthony Steen (rJr.)
2011 season: Appeared in all 13 games, making nine starts at right guard.
2012 spring practice: After splitting time with Alfred McCullough during the second half of the 2011 season, Steen reaffirmed his status as a starter. Paul Crane Offensive Lineman Award recipient at the close of spring drills.
What he brings to the table: While somewhat overshadowed by Chance Warmack, Barrett Jones and D.J. Fluker, Steen has an NFL future of his own. Combines with Warmack to give UA 37 career starts at the guard positions.
Handley High School offensive tackle Bradley Bozeman has known he wanted to play at the University of Alabama for quite some time. The talented lineman was the first Alabama commitment for the 2013 class and has been 100 percent committed to the Crimson Tide since. While other recruits have spent their time running around to different colleges, Bozeman's early commitment has allowed him to focus solely on getting ready for his senior season. "You're not going here or there, having to worry about every weekend getting from place to place," Bozeman said. "You're committed, you're where you want to be, and you don't have to worry about the rest."
Reasons for optimism: Traina has two more years, so does shortstop Kaila Hunt, who led the Crimson Tide in home runs and RBIs, and leadoff dynamo Kayla Braud is back for her senior season. Alabama, under coach Patrick Murphy, was recruiting well before the national championship and should now be even more of a household name.
Reasons to worry: The departure of a senior class that Murphy called one of his favorites will leave plenty of holes to fill. Centerfielder Jennifer Fenton, first baseman Cassie Reilly-Boccia, catcher Kendall Dawson, rightfielder Jazlyn Lunceford and designated player/pitcher Amanda Locke all started more than 50 games this past season.
So what's going to be the best way to get invited to the party that will be college football's new four-team playoff? Winning your conference title? Playing the strongest schedule? Having your conference commissioner on the selection committee? With the final approval of college football's new postseason, attention has turned to how its teams will be chosen. In jettisoning the BCS' blend of polls and computer rankings for a selection committee, college football is essentially taking what was a broad-based formula and putting it in the hands of a few knowledgeable king-makers.
Shaun Alexander, RB, Alabama: He scored 50 touchdowns in 41 career games and ranks as Alabama’s all-time leading rusher with 3,565 yards. He set the SEC single-season record for touchdowns scored in 1999 with 24.
DeMeco Ryans, LB, Alabama: One of the most prolific tacklers in Alabama’s storied history. Ryans finished his career with 309 total tackles from 2002-05 and won the Lott Trophy in 2005 as college football’s IMPACT Defensive Player of the Year.