Fielding great running backs is something that many people have come to expect from Alabama Crimson Tide football, so it's not surprising that Nick Saban and his staff have been able to land so many great running back recruits for their 2013 recruiting class.
If you're an elite running back, Alabama should be on top of your list, but what are the odds that the Crimson Tide can hold on to the overabundance of running backs they have committed right now?
Realistically, the odds should be pretty small.
Saban and the Tide currently have three running backs committed for 2013, and that includes Derrick Henry, who Rivals considers a 4-star athlete, but he's a 5-star running back/athlete according to 247Sports composite rankings. Either way you look at it, Henry could be ranked as an athlete or a running back, but he projects best as a running back for the Crimson Tide.
Not only does running back appear to be his best fit, but he has the intangibles to be the next elite back for Alabama. He's 6'3'', 240 pounds and runs a 4.54 40 according to 247Sports. Henry essentially has the size of an elite linebacker combined with the speed of a top-notch running back. He's extremely athletic, and he runs with great power and vision, but he's also very agile and has the ability to make defenders miss.
Henry can be a featured back at Alabama, without a doubt.
That leaves the other two backs committed for 2013.
Four-star Altee Tenpenny out of North Little Rock, Arkansas, and 4-star Tyren Jones from Marietta, Georgia—both whom have the potential to be very good at the college level—are the "other" backs committed to Saban's class.
Tenpenny has great measurables at 6'0'', 212 pounds, running a 4.46 40 according to Rivals.com, and Jones could be a good change-of-pace back at 5'8'', 185 pounds.
The issue they'll run into is the fact that they'll be stuck way behind on the depth chart if they remain committed to Alabama, as Henry should be the first guy up from this class. Even he will have to fight for substantial time in his first few years. Freshman T.J. Yeldon appears to be a more than capable feature back for the future, and Eddie Lacy is a Junior—even though he may be on his way to the NFL.
The rest of Alabama's depth chart features players like sophomore Blake Sims or freshman Dee Hart and Kenyan Drake. There's also the fact that 'Bama already has an elite running back committed for 2014 in 5-star running back Bo Scarbrough, so both Tenpenny and Jones will have to be looking over their shoulders once he enters the program (that is, if he remains committed).
The simple fact of the matter is that every great running back wants to play for Alabama, but Alabama doesn't have room for every great running back.
Honestly, it's a great problem to have if you're Saban. It's not a good problem for most running backs though.
As far as Tenpenny and Jones are concerned, odds are we'll see at least one of them decommit from Alabama.
Odds Alabama loses a 2013 running back commitment:
They're both actually listed as "soft verbals" by Rivals, and the chance to go elsewhere and actually compete for playing time at the running back position should be enough to draw at least one of them away. They both feature notable offers from big-time schools, and they both have the talent to go elsewhere and play a major role.
Despite all of their success and national notoriety, Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide will have a hard time holding on to all the depth they would be adding through the 2013 recruiting class.