Alabama in the Pros

ESPN to release feature on RB Trent Richardson this weekend

Photo comes from AAFL Twitter

He wants to prove to everyone – especially himself – that he can play the game he loves at an elite level, and many are excited to see the transformation of Trent Richardson. 

A native of Pensacola, Fla., Richardson was a five-star from Escambia High School — who chose to attend the University of Alabama in 2009. His ability to read and press the hole, vision as a running back, and power after contact made him a fan favorite in Tuscaloosa, Ala. 

During his three seasons (2009-11) with the Crimson Tide, Richardson recorded 3,130 rushing yards with 35 touchdowns on 540 carries. His finest performance came in 2011, where he set the then single-season school record with 1,679 yards and 21 scores on 283 attempts. 

The success of being a Doak Walker Award winner, All-American, Southeastern Conference Offensive Player of the Year and Heisman finalist in 2011, set Richardson up to be the No. 3 overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft to the Cleveland Browns.  

After a strong rookie year, personal issues caused the former two-time BCS national champion to lose sight of himself.

His career in the National Football League ended after five seasons; however, joining the Alliance of American Football League has given Richardson a revived perspective of the game.

In two matchups for the Birmingham Iron, he has tallied three touchdowns, including the game-winner in the team’s 12-9 win over the Salt Lake Stallions. 

ESPN wants to see if the Richardson from his Alabama days has returned. 

The network is launching an E60 feature on Sunday that will document the 28-year-old’s journey and how he has gone about the process of getting back to the NFL. A strong support system is one thing Richardson has in his corner.

Along with his three children, Mike McCoy – Richardson’s former teammate at Alabama – trains him at Warehouse Performance Institute in Birmingham, Ala. 

He also has Blake Sims, another product of Tide football that understands how tough it is to make an NFL roster.

Despite proving he could deliver Alabama to an SEC championship and the College Football Playoff; the native Georgian did not fit the mold of the professional game. 

Sims has tried the NFL and Canadian Football League, but like Richardson, he too hopes the AAFL will be the venue to put him back in the conversation. While the Iron spends the next two weeks on the road, the time is now for Richardson to display that he still has the talent. 

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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