Alabama football fall practice preview: Brian Robinson Jr. returns as the senior back

Nick Kelly
The Tuscaloosa News

Alabama football has churned out talented running backs with consistency during coach Nick Saban's tenure. 

Will the Crimson Tide produce another top back from this year's group? 

Here's a look at Alabama football's running back group heading into this season's practices, set to start on Friday, August 6. 

Running back

Departed starter: Najee Harris (Drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers)

Returners: Brian Robinson Jr. (redshirt senior), Trey Sanders (redshirt sophomore), Roydell Williams (sophomore), Jase McClellan (sophomore), Jonathan Bennett (sophomore)

Additions: Camar Wheaton (freshman)

Analysis: Harris put together a spectacular season in 2020, running for 26 touchdowns and catching four. He received the bulk of the carries with 251, 60.60%. During Saban's tenure at Alabama, his offenses have split carries in a variety of ways. One back has received the majority of the carries in six of Saban's 14 seasons in Tuscaloosa. He could add another to that total with Robinson being the most experienced back by far. He rushed for six touchdowns in relief of Harris in 2020. Robinson now has his chance to be the lead back, but with a handful of young, talented backs, Alabama could split the carries more evenly. Williams and McClellan are two who could push for playing time. Sanders is also in the mix if healthy. He is recovering from an injury suffered in a November car accident. Then there's Wheaton, a five-star freshman from Texas who could also see playing time. How the Crimson Tide handles distribution of carries and usage remains to be seen. But one thing is clear: Even without one of its best players in Harris, Alabama has plenty of talent remaining at the running back position. 

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