As we prepare for the start of Alabama’s 2022 season, the staff for Touchdown Alabama Magazine will be previewing position groups in preseason camp.
The Crimson Tide returns veterans, young players, and depth at every position.
Alabama’s focus is to return to the College Football Playoff and win a national championship. Coach Nick Saban is pursuing the eighth national title of his career and seventh for the Tide. He wants to see excellence on both sides of the ball, and the season begins on Saturday, Sept. 3.
After looking at quarterbacks, we now preview Alabama’s running back room.
Alabama’s Running Back Room
-Returners: Jase McClellan (Junior), Trey Sanders (RS Junior), Roydell Williams (Junior)
-Newcomers: Jahmyr Gibbs (transfer), Emmanuel Henderson (freshman), Jamarion Miller (freshman)
-Expected starter/starters: Jahmyr Gibbs, Jase McClellan
Alabama has a stacked roster of running backs again under Nick Saban.
Brian Robinson was a great story for the Crimson Tide last year. He waited his time and produced 1,343 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns in his fifth season for Alabama. As consistent as he was, Robinson lacked the breakaway speed Tide fans enjoyed watching. Coach Saban addressed the need in the offseason by adding Jahmyr Gibbs from the NCAA transfer portal.
He comes over from Georgia Tech after having 1,800 all-purpose yards and seven touchdowns in 2021. Gibbs looked impressive in spring practice and recorded a 75-yard touchdown in the spring game. Alabama’s coaching staff and players constantly talk about his speed, explosive cuts, pass-catching skills, and elusiveness. The 5-foot-10, 200-pounder is being discussed among media circles as a dark horse candidate for the Heisman Trophy. He has the skill set and versatility to make it happen.
Jase McClellan enters his junior campaign in the fall. He was doing everything for Alabama’s offense before a knee injury against Mississippi sidelined him for the rest of the 2021 season. The native Texan has been training with former Auburn standout Brad Lester all offseason. Per sources, McClellan has returned to his pre-injury form. A consistent one, two punch of him and Gibbs should give defenses the blues. Both have versatility as receivers and have breakaway speed in space.
Roydell Williams is a combination of three former Crimson Tide backs. He is built like Kenneth Darby, possesses the cuts of Mark Ingram, and has Josh Jacobs’ contact balance. As a native of Hueytown, Ala., Williams was producing in 2021 before sustaining a knee injury against New Mexico State. He recorded a touchdown catch from Bryce Young versus Texas A&M.
Williams got stronger during the offseason so he looks forward to what his role will be.
Alabama fans want Trey Sanders to stay healthy. He arrived as a five-star from Florida in the 2019 class, but unfortunate injuries sidelined him for two years. He suffered a foot fracture before the start of his freshman year, and then a car accident left him with significant injuries in his second season. Sanders bounced back with a rushing touchdown against Miami to open 2021, but the explosiveness he had in high school was not there. His experience adds value to the team, and Alabama needs to create a role for him. Sanders has power, receiving skills, blocking skills, and is a natural runner with the ball in his hands.
Alabama signed two freshmen, Emmanuel Henderson and Jamarion Miller, in its 2022 class.
Henderson was one of the top backs in the nation from high school. He excels as a runner, receiver, and return specialist.
If he does not see a lot of reps at running back, keep your eyes on him playing receiver and returning kickoffs. Miller, a four-star, was one of the most coveted players from Texas. He posted 1,355 rushing yards, 380 receiving yards, and 19 total touchdowns in his senior year at Tyler Legacy High School. Miller’s career ended with nearly 5,000 yards rushing across four seasons. He arrived in the spring for Alabama and showed impressive toughness. Miller and Henderson have different skills, but the room is loaded.
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