It will not be against Louisiana State University, but Alabama football has two freshmen running backs that are ready to be impactful on offense in the loss of Trey Sanders.
As Sanders recovers from surgery, the duo of Jase McClellan and Roydell Williams have impressed teammates and coaches since preseason camp. Both players bring different traits to the rotation; however, they will complement everyone else well.
According to Nick Saban, he has been encouraged by both guys.
“They have not gotten a lot of opportunities so far, but we feel like they can contribute and they are capable,” Saban said of McClellan and Williams on Monday.
McClellan, a native of Aledo, Texas, has worked on special teams in all six games.
An alumnus Aledo High School, the four-star was named Special Teams Player of the Week by the Crimson Tide’s coaching staff for his performance versus Mississippi State.
He limited the Bulldogs to no punt return yards and held it to 72 kick return yards in a 41-0 victory for Alabama at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
The 5-foot-11, 212-pounder flipped to the Tide from Oklahoma late in this year’s recruiting cycle after being a Sooner pledge for almost two years.
McClellan was an outstanding high school athlete, totaling 1,000-plus yards rushing in all four seasons. He ended his career with 6,468 yards with 122 touchdowns on 842 carries, while catching 28 passes for 429 yards with three scores. Along with his explosive playmaking abilities, McClellan guided his team to a Texas 6A Division 2 state championship as a freshman and it took it back to the title game as a senior.
He is a home run hitter in open space with his speed.
Williams, a native of Hueytown, Ala., has played in five games.
A graduate of Hueytown High School, the four-star accomplished three straight 1,000-yard seasons and ended his career totaling 5,929 yards rushing with 84 rushing scores and 92 total touchdowns. Williams was one of the top players in the state of Alabama and one of the best backs in the nation on the recruiting trail. According to Leonard Stephens, an elite trainer at Step By Step Performance in Birmingham, Ala., he told yours truly of Touchdown Alabama Magazine that Williams has a mindset that resembles NFL running back, Adrian Peterson. Williams has a knack for breaking tackles when he hits a hole.
The 5-foot-10, 210-pounder has the potential to remind Tide fans of Josh Jacobs.
On Tuesday, Alex Leatherwood (left tackle) said both guys have impressed him since fall camp.
“They came in and went to work hard,” Leatherwood said of McClellan and Williams. “They took after Najee and B. Rob, two seniors on the team, and they have worked really hard.”
Patrick Surtain, a junior cornerback, called both players ‘competitors.’
“They are ready to get out there and are antsy to play,” Surtain said. “You see it every day in practice. They compete every day and run the ball hard.”
No one wants to see its success come at the expense of someone else; nevertheless, Alabama fans were excited when McClellan and Williams both chose to sign with the Tide. Next week, we will get a chance to see what they can do.
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