For those that haven’t see what the 6-1 220-pound Lacy had been doing all season when he totaled 1182 yards–good for third most in the SEC–during the regular season had their eyes opened when the bruising tailback was running through would be Notre Dame tacklers. Lacy finished his evening with 140 yards and a touchdown and added a touchdown reception for good measure.
Prior to Monday night’s game, Lacy mentioned that the decision to return to Tuscaloosa for his senior season would rest with his parents, and after the first half when Lacy was just shy of the century mark and reached the end zone on two occasions, that decision now looks like an easy one to make.
For the second time in a championship game Nick Saban-led teams have had a pair of running backs eclipse the century mark as freshman T.J. Yeldon also had 108 yards on 21 carries, reaching the end zone in the first half to give Alabama a 21-0 lead. Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson accomplished this feat in the Crimson Tide’s win vs. Texas in 2010.
Running backs have a short lifespan and Lacy needs to start getting paid for his services and leaver early as Richardson and Ingram did before him. Yeldon is a freshman and ready to assume the lead back duties for the Crimson Tide, who will be bolstered in the backfield by incoming recruits Derrick Henry, Tyren Jones and Altee Tenpenny.
Lack probably will not get drafted in the first round but figures to hear his name called on day two because he has prototypical size for a running back, above-average vision, agility, and acceleration and incredible production at Alabama against some of the stiffest defenses in the country.
Over the last three games, Lacy is averaging more than 150 yards per game and when you consider the opponents he faced in the last two games when he rushed for 181 vs. Georgia and 140 in the title game against the top-ranked scoring defense of Notre Dame, that makes it all the more impressive what he accomplished on the ground.
He has experienced some injury trouble in college and isn’t a polished receiver out of the backfield which will keep him from being drafted higher, but coming back and risking injury is not worth the risk and I fully expect Lacy to make the smart decision and declare for the NFL draft in the coming days.
Follow me on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt