With Josh Jacobs and Damien Harris gone, Najee Harris is bound to take over feature running back duties this season for Alabama. Behind him is Brian Robinson Jr., who has proven himself as a capable back and is poised for a bigger role.
The depth chart then starts to get thin after Harris and Robinson, which UA coach Nick Saban alluded to after the Crimson Tide’s second spring scrimmage last Saturday in Bryant-Denny Stadium. Saban does expect incoming 5-star Trey Sanders and 4-star Keilan Robinson to help strengthen the position group once they arrive on campus in the summer or fall.
“Do we have some guys coming here that are going to get an opportunity to compete with them? I think so,” Saban said. “So, nobody’s going to be entitled to anything when it comes to next fall.
“I know that guys, all you care about is the depth chart. We don’t have a depth chart. Everybody’s going to compete, and hopefully, we’ll be able to get those guys to be able to play winning football at running back past the first two guys, as well.”
Last season, Harris played in all 15 of Alabama’s games. He averaged 52.2 rushing yards per game and 6.7 yards per attempt. Overall, he carried the ball 117 times for 787 yards and scored four touchdowns. He finished as the Crimson Tide’s second-leading rusher.
Robinson, on the other hand, finished fourth on Alabama’s rushing list. He, too, saw playing time in every 2018 game. He had an average of 18.1 rushing yards per contest and 4.3 yards per touch. Total, he took 63 carries for 272 yards and two scores.
Harris and Robinson are both juniors this season. Saban said earlier this spring he has been “really satisfied with those two guys.” So now he’s looking beyond them to see who else can and will step up.