Alabama Football: Running Back TJ Yeldon Could Be Best Bama Back Yet

By Curt Popejoy
TJ Yeldon
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

In recent seasons, the Alabama Crimson Tide football has built a reputation being a true college football dynasty, and they’ve done it with a smothering defense, a dominant offensive line, and a platoon of talented running backs.

That will not change this season as the powerful and explosive TJ Yeldon will take the reigns and try and continue the success of Crimson Tide backs.

There has been a different back who has taken control of the running game at Alabama the past three seasons and dictated the offense. First was Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram, but even when he was on the roster, many felt like his backup Trent Richardson was more talented.

Richardson was amazing in the following season, but right on his heels was another running back Eddie Lacy, who pushed him hard for carries. Lacy got his chance to shine in 2012 and didn’t miss a beat, but as we have seen, for every great Alabama running back, there is another waiting in the wings.

For Lacy, he had then freshman Yeldon nipping at his heels, stealing carries and putting college football on notice that the running game in Alabama was in good hands going forward.

Yeldon rushed for 1,108 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns as a backup to Lacy in 2012. There are plenty of starting backs in college football who would be happy with a season like this, but Yeldon is just scratching the surface.

He’s got great size and shows a level of quickness and acceleration that is rare for a back his size. As only a true sophomore, you can see his potential is unlimited. I would consider Yeldon a Heisman contender going into the season, just as Ingram was in 2009.

Yeldon also has an advantage that as of now, there is no elite back who has emerged who will push him for carries. With what looks to be an improved passing game to keep defenses honest, a 2,000-yard season has to be a consideration for Yeldon and with that, so too is great success for the Alabama football program.

Curt covers the Pittsburgh Steelers, the NFL draft, and college football for Rant Sports. Connect with Curt on Twitter @nfldraftboard.

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