Alabama Football: 3 Reasons Ed Lacy Is Sleeper Heisman Candidate
The Tide's run of Heisman Trophy candidates isn't over. Junior Ed Lacy will be Alabama's feature back this season, and he will open some eyes around the country.
Of course, the Matt Barkley's and Montee Ball's of the world will get most of the press, but Lacy is a true talent that would have started last season for most teams.
Here are three reasons Lacy will surprise and be in the Heisman discussion in 2012:
Lacy is credited with 4.4 speed per Rivals, and looking at him explode through a hole will eliminate all doubt of the validity of that number. Of the backs that will have carried the load for the Tide in the past three seasons, Lacy is easily the fastest.
He averaged seven yards per carry as a sophomore, and had 11 runs of 20 or more yards. He may not be a better back than Trent Richardson and Mark Ingram, but he offers a home run threat his predecessors didn't.
Big runs allow a back to pile up yards even in blow outs, as he can get his stats on fewer carries. Check out one of his impressive runs:
Lacy didn't get an opportunity to display these skills much as a sophomore. He had 11 catches, but he has soft hands, and his speed makes him dangerous in space. Lacy should have more of an opportunity as the feature back to make plays out of the backfield through the passing game.
Richardson caught 29 passes for three TDs in 2011, Lacy should be able to accumulate similar receiving numbers as he is now the main horse.
When they have all reached the NFL, who will have had the better career at Alabama?
Though the Tide lost William Vlachos and Alfred McCullough, they return D.J. Fluker, Barrett Jones and Chance Warmack to the stout Tide O-Line. For any RB that is a Heisman Candidate, it all starts up front.
Expect Lacy to have the running room and opportunity to use his game breaking speed. Offensive Line coach Jeff Stoutland did an outstanding job with his unit in 2011, and to have three returning players should keep the unit strong.
Bama RBs have rushed for 3,300 yards in the past two seasons that they have had a healthy feature back. There is no reason to believe Lacy will be a fall off.
He may not be in Tuscaloosa long enough to challenge again in his senior season, but everything is in place for him to make a decent run as a junior.
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