Nick Saban has always had success when it comes to recruiting and grooming talent at the running back position.
So it's no surprise that Alabama has already secured commitments from two of the nation's top 5 running backs—Altee Tenpenny and Tyren Jones—for the class of 2013 (h/t 247 Sports).
However, the Tide’s backfield stable could grow in a major way on Friday when 5-star Derrick Henry will make his announcement on where he will play college football next season, according to Justin Barney of the Florida Times-Union.
The 6’3”, 240-pounder was committed to SEC power Georgia—who is still one of Henry’s three finalists along with Alabama and Tennessee—before opening his recruitment back up in the summer.
But according to Chris Hays of the Orlando Sentinel, Alabama is believed to be the favorite for his services, especially considering he was in attendance for the Tide's 40-7 victory over Florida Atlantic last weekend.
So what would adding Henry mean for the future of Alabama’s running back unit?
For starters, it gives Saban a deep group of young and versatile options to turn to next season in case Eddie Lacy turns pro or if Jalston Fowler—who suffered a torn ACL earlier this season—is unable to recover in time for next season.
Also with the emergence of stud freshmen T.J. Yeldon and Kenyan Drake, adding Henry (along with Tenpenny and Jones) ensures that the Tide will have a well-rounded and dynamic unit for the foreseeable future.
Add the recent commitment of Tuscaloosa native Bo Scarbrough—one of the nation’s top backs in the 2014 class—and it appears the Tide’s assembly line of stud rushers is seemingly endless.
As talented as each of those backs are, Henry—who broke the state of Florida’s single-game rushing record in a monstrous 502-yard effort last weekend—has a freakish combination of size and speed that is rare even at a school loaded with athletes like Alabama.
Even in what could become a crowded backfield, Henry will have little trouble standing out.
The Yulee (Fla.) native’s physique screams linebacker or even defensive end, but one glance at one of his highlight videos will erase any concerns of his ability to be a game-breaker on offense.
Considering that Alabama’s offense has been successful using multiple backs, Saban has a proven system that showcases that position and allows for several players to help carry the load.
Beginning in 2008 with Mark Ingram, Alabama has benefited from the contribution of an elite freshman running back in four of the last five years—with the likes of Trent Richardson, Lacy and now Yeldon taking turns in the passing the torch.
If Henry chooses to cast his lot with the Tide, that legacy will undoubtedly carry on next season.
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