When it comes to picking running backs, there’s no one better than Nick Saban.
From Glen Coffee to Derrick Henry, his past six primary backs have collected All-SEC honors, with three earning All-American nods, two earning the Doak Walker Award and two bringing home the Heisman Trophy.
So, it’s a safe bet that whichever runner tops the depth chart this fall will pick up where the previous half dozen left off.
The current spring competition features sophomores Bo Scarbrough and Damien Harris. Both of them produced elite workout results last week, and they have both impressed Saban through two March practices.
“In two days so far, (Harris has) done a really nice job,” Saban said Monday. “So has Bo Scabrough. Those guys will compete.”
Harris and Scarbrough saw the field sporadically while filling in for Henry and Kenyan Drake last year. The former 5-star recruits are the clear-cut favorites to win the starting job, but Saban also mentioned two incoming freshmen — 4-star B.J. Emmons (Morgantown, N.C.) and 3-star Joshua Jacobs (Tulsa, Okla.) — will “be able to compete and add depth as well.”
Saban had nothing but praise when asked about Harris specifically.
“I think that the experience that Damien gained last year certainly helped his maturity in terms of what he needs to do to be a productive player and how he needs to compete at this level,” Saban said. “I think he learned a lot of those things last year.”
Harris finished with 157 yards and one touchdown on 46 attempts last season, and returned nine kickoffs for 174 yards.
We pegged Scarbrough as the eventual starter earlier this month, but Harris could easily be the man.
“I certainly see a more confident and knowledgeable guy in Damien this spring so far,” Saban said.
What’s next: Alabama holds its third spring practice on Wednesday afternoon.