Returning starters: None

Starters lost: Josh Jacobs, Damien Harris


Najee Harris, the No. 1 prep running back prospect in the national Class of 2017 rankings, has waited for his chance to become the backfield bellcow. In the process, Harris has rushed for 1,153 yards and seven touchdowns in two seasons while averaging 6.5 yards per carry. He has also been Alabama’s leading rusher in each of the past two College Playoff Championship games.


With injuries to both Trey Sanders (out for the year) and Jerome Ford (out indefinitely in the early going with an ankle sprain), freshman Keilan Robinson out of Washington, D.C. has a chance to get some meaningful reps behind Harris and No. 2 running back Brian Robinson.


Both Harris and Brian Robinson have looked good in fall scrimmages. Robinson had a tackle-breaking 50-yard touchdown run that was a highlight of the second scrimmage. Harris has been solid in limited work and Ford was a standout before an ankle injury.


Few teams could lose a pair of NFL Draft choices (Jacobs in the first round, Damien Harris in the third) and still come into a season viewing the position as an asset but Alabama is loaded here, even though Sanders — who had been an eye-catcher in limited work before breaking an ankle — won’t be part of the mix.



Alabama did not have a 1,000-yard rusher last season. The last time the Crimson Tide won a national championship without a 1,000-yard rusher on the season was 1992 (Derrick Lassic led the team with 905 yards).


“You know how it is sometimes when you sit around and you have to wait. You feel like you deserve more than what you’re getting at the time and when you feel like you’re not getting it but you prepare for it, it builds anger — but you can grow from it.”

Brian Robinson, this year’s No. 2 running back at UA, on patience.