Editor’s note: Coming off its fourth national championship in seven seasons, Alabama returns a ton of talent, and has a great opportunity to repeat as champions in 2016.
SEC Country took a look at Alabama’s 25 most important players. Obviously, there’ll be coaches and other key members around the program who’ll have a big impact on the team’s success. But this list is strictly for the top 25 players for the Crimson Tide heading into 2016.
1. Bo Scarbrough/Damien Harris/B.J. Emmons/Joshua Jacobs
Putting the running backs at No. 1 basically boils down to the position being arguably Alabama’s most important group during Nick Saban’s tenure.
From a running back standpoint, let’s look at the years Alabama has won the national championship under Saban. In 2009, Mark Ingram won the Heisman Trophy after rushing for 1,658 yards and 17 touchdowns. In 2011, Trent Richardson was a Heisman Trophy finalist after he posted 1,679 yards rushing and 21 touchdowns.
Both Eddie Lacy (1,322 yards and 17 touchdowns) and T.J. Yeldon (1,108 yards and 12 touchdowns) topped the millennium mark on the ground when Alabama repeated as title winners in 2012.
Derrick Henry won the Heisman Trophy in the midst of last season’s championship run, putting up otherworldly rushing totals of 2,219 yards and 28 touchdowns.
The point being that Alabama has received incredible production from its running backs during the title years. Are we to expect a running back on Alabama’s roster to produce like some of other recent Crimson Tide greats? This is the thinnest and most inexperienced Alabama has been at running back under Saban.
Alabama has plenty of talent in Scarbrough, Harris, Emmons and Jacobs in the backfield. But one or two of those guys must step up and become a workhorse for the offense.
If healthy, Scarbrough could be that guy, with Harris serving as a change-of-pace type running back.
Emmons has the build of a feature running back, while Jacobs is versatile enough to play the Kenyan Drake role in this year’s offense.
Read the rest of the countdown:
- No. 2 Reuben Foster
- No. 3 Cam Robinson
- No. 4 Jonathan Allen
- No. 5 Tim Williams
- No. 6 Ryan Anderson
- No. 7 Calvin Ridley
- No. 8 O.J. Howard
- No. 9 Eddie Jackson
- No. 10 Marlon Humphrey
- No. 11 Minkah Fitzpatrick
- No. 12 Cooper Bateman/David Cornwell/Blake Barnett/Jalen Hurts
- No. 13 Robert Foster
- No. 14 Da’Shawn Hand
- No. 15 Da’Ron Payne
- No. 16 ArDarius Stewart
- No. 17 Shaun Dion Hamilton
- No. 18 Dalvin Tomlinson
- No. 19 Ronnie Harrison
- No. 20 Ross Pierschbacher
- No. 21 Lester Cotton
- No. 22 JK Scott
- No. 23 Rashaan Evans
- No. 24 Jonah Williams
- No. 25 Adam Griffith