With Trent Richardson starting for the Cleveland Browns, Eddie Lacy will take the reins this year of the 2012 Alabama offense. AJ McCarron may relay the calls and take the snaps, but few will disagree that the running back position holds precedence at Alabama. The past three featured backs (Glen Coffee, Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson) at Alabama have all become high draft picks in the last four years’ of NFL Drafts. Eddie Lacy will likely make it four highly drafted backs in the last five years in next spring’s 2013 NFL Draft after a strong showing this year for the 2012 Alabama football team. While he does not have the hype of Mark Ingram or Trent Richardson going into the 2012 season, Eddie Lacy projects to have a banner year for the Crimson Tide behind a stellar offensive line which projects at to have at least four future NFL Draft picks.
YEAR BEFORE THEY WERE FEATURED BACK
Since history is the best predictor of success, I have gone to the stat book to look at Mark Ingram’s, Trent Richardson’s, and Eddie Lacy’s year as the second-option running back before their first year as the featured back. There are some variables like Mark Ingram was a freshman his year as the back-up while Trent Richardson was a sophomore and Eddie Lacy was a redshirt-sophomore. Still, the stats show that the usage rates between the three backs were similar in their back-up roles, which gives a good indication that Eddie Lacy will have similar usage rates this year for Alabama as both Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson did in their featured roles. See the table below for all their back-up year stats along with the featured year stats for Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson with Eddie Lacy’s projected stats.
FIRST YEAR AS FEATURED BACK
The reason that I have projected Eddie Lacy to have a little less in terms of overall yardage and touchdowns is because of the tremendous talent backing him up. He has three legitimate back-up running backs (Fowler, Hart, Yeldon) that would probably be starting at most college football programs in america. Coach Saban is going to make sure that Eddie Lacy will get his carries and produce, but that the future feature backs are getting their reps as well. Plus, if he reaches his projected stats, Eddie Lacy should take home 1st Team All-SEC at a minimum.