According to Chase Goodbread of the Tuscaloosa News, Richardson, Dont'a Hightower and Dre Kirkpatrick will all enter the 2012 NFL draft.
What Does it Mean?
One NFL team is about to get a huge upgrade at running back. Richardson was a phenomenal star at the college level and shouldn't have much trouble translating to the NFL.
This isn't much of a surprise, though, as Richardson has long been praised by scouts and labeled a sure-fire first-round pick.
The Heisman Trophy finalist has achieved a ton of success with Alabama, and now he feels it is in his best interest to take on the NFL.
Given how short the career of an NFL running back is these days, Richardson is making the right call. This is a big loss for the future of Alabama's program, but fantastic news for Richardson.
What Happens Next?
The Crimson Tide had to expect this, and they will now look to Eddie Lacy to carry the load in 2012. The rising junior showed great power in the title game, extending key drives that allowed Alabama to put points on the board.
Joining Lacy next year in the Crimson Tide backfield will be Demetrius Hart, who returns from a torn ACL he suffered during the summer. Hart was a key member in the Crimson Tide's superb recruiting class of 2011, and it will be interesting to see how he performs after the injury has healed.
As for Richardson, he will put all of his attention toward further impressing NFL scouts, which won't be difficult considering that he is the top running back in the class of 2012.
Of course, his former teammate Mark Ingram was the top back in last year's draft, and he slipped all the way to the bottom of the first round. Richardson will continue to work hard to hopefully avoid the same fate.