Alabama Football: Profiling the Tide's Latest RB Commits
Though Nick Saban is a defensive-minded coach, one thing he absolutely requires on the offensive side of the football is a strong running attack.
With a steady stream of bruising ball carriers going back to Glen Coffee, who he inherited from Mike Shula upon taking over in Tuscaloosa, Saban has been able to put together a string of running backs that just keep on producing year after year.
When Mark Ingram won the Heisman Trophy for the 2009 season, he was one of the key ingredients to the Tide's first national title in almost two decades. The very next season, there was a highly capable Trent Richardson waiting patiently to take his place.
With Eddie Lacy the obvious starter in the backfield for the 2012 campaign, let's take a look at the Crimson Tide's two running back commits so far for the 2013 recruiting class.
If Altee Tenpenny can produce like he's expected to once he gets to Tuscaloosa, he'll become more than the recruit with an interesting name.
Rated a 4-star by both Scout and Rivals.com, this 5'11" beast runs a 4.42 second 40-yard dash and weighs in just over 200 pounds, which means he has time to add size and speed before Alabama's trainers get their hands on him next summer.
Though he has speed, Tenpenny may need to work a bit on his power if he's going to run the ball for the Crimson Tide against a weekly slate of SEC defenders.
According to Chad Simmons of Scout.com, Tenpenny "knows how to set up his blocks, run under control, and hit the hole when it opens. He runs a little high at times and he can still run with more power behind his pads and get those tough inside yards, but he has all the tools you look for in an elite back."
When Marietta, Georgia running back Tyren Jones passed up a chance to be a Bulldog and committed to Alabama this February, it gave Nick Saban's 2013 recruiting class yet another ESPN Top 150 recruit to add to his pool of riches.
As a slightly different style of running back when compared to Altee Tenpenny, could Jones and his recruiting classmate become a tandem of sorts? Last season while Heisman candidate Trent Richardson picked up over 1,600 yards on the ground, his teammate Eddie Lacy still managed to get himself nearly 700 yards, so it's not unheard of under Saban for players to share the work load in the running game.
"Jones is a fun back to watch," said Chad Simmons of Scout.com, on Jones' site profile. "He bounces around the field, his feet are extremely quick, and the first man rarely is able to bring him down. He makes defenders reach at air and he is very elusive. He is more of a quick back than fast, but he can make plays, move the chains, and run with authority. He lacks that true second gear out of the backfield, but he is fast enough. He runs with patience and has great feel for the game."
The future of the Crimson Tide running game might just be bright enough to blind opposing fans.