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While the Alabama Crimson Tide continue to wonder who their starting quarterback will be this fall, the running back position appears to be in good shape to help whoever that starting quarterback is.
Junior-to-be T.J. Yeldon returns this fall after two solid seasons in Tuscaloosa. Last year, Yeldon rushed for 1,235 yards and 14 touchdowns in his first season as the Tide’s starting running back. As a freshman, Yeldon had 1,108 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns while playing behind Eddie Lacy.
As he prepares for his third, and perhaps final, season at Alabama, Yeldon will have some company in the backfield in the form of sophomore Derrick Henry.
In last season’s Sugar Bowl loss to the Oklahoma Sooners, Henry had a breakout game, rushing eight times for 100 yards and a touchdown, an catching one pass for a 61-yard score. That’s 161 yards in just nine touches.
Henry certainly has the pedigree to play running back for the Tide. He broke the national high school rushing record that had stood for more than 50 years before coming to Tuscaloosa.
Despite of those credentials, Henry was limited to 35 carries as a freshman. He did rush for 382 yards and three touchdowns, averaging 10.9 yards per carry on the season.
If Yeldon and Henry can become a dynamic duo for Alabama, it would certainly take pressure off of the new quarterback, whoever he is. While the new quarterback (likely to be Jacob Coker or Blake Sims) settles in, the running game should be able to pace the Alabama offense, especially with studs like Yeldon and Henry carrying the load.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.