Alabama running back Desherrius Flowers elected to stay in his home state with a commitment to the Crimson Tide last April. The 4-star prospect aims to be the latest addition to a proud lineage of rushers in Tuscaloosa, exhibiting outstanding skills and physicality.
Flowers, a 6'1", 212-pound junior at Vigor High School (Prichard, Ala.), is rated the nation's No. 4 running back prospect in 247Sports' composite rankings. He's listed at No. 54 among all members of the 2015 class.
His recruitment gained steam after a sophomore season that featured 922 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. A pledge to the Tide quickly shut things down and he remains on track to join the team next year.
Flowers has already drawn comparisons to current Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon, a possible 2014 Heisman Trophy contender who also hails from the Mobile area (Daphne). Expectations will be high from the moment Flowers arrives on campus, especially if Yeldon decides to depart early for the NFL draft after this season.
We examined the game film to discover what puts Flowers in the upper echelon of offensive playmakers.
|School||Vigor High School|
|Size||6'1", 212 lbs|
|Rankings||No. 4 RB; No. 54 nationally; No. 3 player in Alabama|
|Key Offers||Committed to Alabama (April 15, 2013)|
Flowers' game is defined by his violent approach as a rusher. He doesn't leave any questions about his tenacity or physicality, attacking opposing defenses without a shred of hesitancy.
Few athletes in this class are a more appropriate fit for the north-south ground game than Flowers. Equipped with a formidable frame, he carries the ball with authority and refuses to sacrifice yards by yielding or stepping out of bounds.
Flowers is quick to get out of the backfield, firing upfield with a burst off his front foot. Once he reaches the line of scrimmage, his aggressiveness shines.
Even while operating within a crowd of defenders and offensive linemen in the trenches, Flowers doesn't delay or waste steps. He charges though and keeps his feet churning through contact.
Opponents might grab a piece of his jersey in the process, but it doesn't matter. Flowers is deliberate and steadfast while moving forward toward daylight.
His efforts require just one cut and then it's a straight-line sprint. He isn't a burner, but this approach allows him to gain chunks of yardage in a hurry while putting pressure on the defensive secondary.
Once he identifies a rushing lane, impressive acceleration allows him to beat defenders to space and he exploits the gap with a low center of gravity. Flowers is a balanced runner who maintains proper pad level, so tackling him is a tough task.
Given his style and size, it's impressive how quickly Flowers is able to gain velocity. He's an absolute load for defensive backs to handle when he reaches the secondary and most of his takedowns in high school require gang-tackling.
Flowers is an ideal candidate to carry the football in short-yardage situations. He's adept at moving the chains and plunging into the end zone, even when dealing with clogged rushing gaps.
Flowers isn't going to dance his way out of tight spots. Some running backs can wiggle through containment with an array of lateral moves, but that's not a strong suit for him.
His strength is apparent, but so is a slight lack of hip fluidity. Flowers doesn't always look smooth when forced to cut at the second level and usually loses acceleration on those attempts.
He doesn't have the speed to blow by defenders in space, so sure, tacklers will be able to at least slow him down until help arrives. Flowers will find his way into the end zone often in college if he stays healthy, but it would be unfair to anticipate routine touchdown sprints from midfield at the next level.
Like most high school running backs, Flowers is a relatively unknown commodity in the passing game. If his physical demeanor transitions into blocking efforts and he becomes a capable receiving threat out of the backfield, it will encourage Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin to steadily increase Flowers' role.
It certainly appears that Nick Saban has his hands on yet another ferocious downhill runner. Flowers fits the mold of what we've recently seen from Tide running backs and Alabama should feel comfortable with him after receiving a commitment almost two years before his signing day.
The offensive backfield is always crowded in Tuscaloosa so Flowers will need to impress early if he hopes to fight his way onto the field as a freshman. He's already quite physically developed, so there isn't necessarily a need to give him time on the sidelines to bulk up.
Expect Flowers to earn carries as an underclassman. If Yeldon is out of the equation in 2015, his chances of immediate playing time increase tremendously with a strong training camp.