Alabama a-Day Game 2012: T.J. Yeldon Set for Big Freshman Year After Spring Game

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistApril 15, 2012

(AP Photo/The Tuscaloosa News, Michelle Lepianka Carter)
(AP Photo/The Tuscaloosa News, Michelle Lepianka Carter)

Eddie Lacy may be listed as the starter, but he best be looking over his shoulder—freshman phenom T.J. Yeldon is coming for his job.

And he might just get it.

The youngster was the star of Alabama's A-Day spring game, rushing 16 times for 88 yards and catching five passes for a game-high 91 yards and one touchdown—including a 50-yard scamper in which he broke several tackles. Not surprisingly, he took home the Dixie Howell Most Valuable Player of the Game Award.

And he impressed a lot of people along the way, including Alabama head coach Nick Saban. From Don Kausler Jr. of

"He was the difference in the game for his team and made a lot of good plays and a lot of production," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "That's important for us, because we needed somebody like that. He has a really good opportunity."

Saban described Fowler and Hart as backs who can "do certain things."

"T.J.'s kind of one of those guys who can do everything," Saban said. "He's a good runner. He's got some power, he's got some speed. He's a really good receiver. Hopefully he'll continue to mature and have a pretty significant role in helping our offense next year."

Yeldon seems like another addition in the revolving door of elite running backs that Nick Saban has recruited during his tenure at Alabama. Mark Ingram won the Heisman. Trent Richardson is held in such esteem that many people (myself included) have called him the best running back to hit the draft since Adrian Peterson.

And Yeldon wasn't just an amazing get for what he can do on the field for Alabama. He was also an amazing get because Saban was able to convince him to switch his commitment away from rival Auburn.

Not too shabby, Coach.

Alabama has to fill in the void left by the departure of several talented players on their way to the NFL this season, but they certainly seem poised to compete for another national championship this year. If the spring game is any indication, Yeldon will certainly be a big part of that effort.

He may not dethrone Lacy, but make no bones about it, he'll see the field quite a bit this fall. And if early returns are any indication, he'll be a big-time playmaker for this Alabama offense right out of the shoot.

Life sure is good down in Tuscaloosa with the football program these days, isn't it?


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