Can Eddie Lacy Steal the Spotlight from Trent Richardson at Alabama?

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Can Eddie Lacy Steal the Spotlight from Trent Richardson at Alabama?
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Much has been discussed about Alabama's excellent recruiting classes. There has been lots of bragging, some people from rival schools complaining, and many people from around the SEC shaking in their boots.

The 2009 recruiting class that has been enrolling at the school this summer has stirred up much attention with names like D.J. Fluker and Trent Richardson.

I, for one, am so excited that for the first time in a long time we have extremely impressive talent that doesn’t even get the spotlight because of the other blue-chip talent that is coming in with them.

I want to concentrate on one player that I believe might make a bigger name for himself than some of the blue-chippers that have hogged the national spotlight thus far.

That player is Eddie Lacy.

All the Bama fans know exactly who I'm talking about. Even some fans from other programs know who I’m talking about from following recruiting for their own team.

For those of you who don’t know who he is, he's a 5'11", 210-lb. running back that has some very unique qualities. There was some doubt as to whether or not he would qualify. With news just last week that he has in fact qualified, the Bama backfield just got stronger.

Every highly recruited running back in America is going to be fast, athletic, and at least somewhat strong, but what makes the difference between a back that becomes a household name nationwide and a running back that becomes a distant memory? There are some tangible things that almost all successful running backs have in common.

You never see a top-notch running back get wrapped up during a play and just go down. A great running back's legs start pumping even harder and faster the moment that contact is made. They don't give up on a play. They are relentless in their drive to get that one extra yard.

After close review of Lacy's highlight video, he exhibits outstanding leg drive and never gives up on his play. If you want to see it in action, see his video on any of the recruiting sites and just watch the first play.

Another aspect that all great backs have in common is vision. You hear commentators mention vision regularly, but what does vision actually mean? It’s the ability to see a hole before the hole even opens up and being able to stay patient and hit the hole as soon as it opens.

Many times you’ll see a running back make an excellent cut that seems to be headed right for a pile, but just before the running back hits the pile of bodies a little crevice opens up, and he slips right through.

The best high school running back that I had the pleasure of watching was a master at this technique. He has made a living off of his vision. Most of you know him as Carnell "Cadillac" Williams.

Lacy shows this uncanny ability to hit holes that don't seem to be there several times in his videos. His jump-cut is one of the best, if not the best that I've ever seen. If you combine his ability to cut with his vision, you have dynamite in your backfield.

The last thing that most great running backs have in common is the ability to be hit hard and still somehow keep their feet. This is better known as balance. It is one of the most crucial abilities that a running back can own.

There is one guarantee for a running back in the SEC: You will get hit, often, hard, and from every direction. If you have no balance, you'll just be another third stringer.

Lacy shows off his outstanding balance in many clips of his highlight film. You can refer back to the same clip that shows his roadrunner-like leg drive. In that same clip he is hit from all directions but remains on his feet to take it to the house.

Before I get all the hate mail talking about how Trent Richardson is going to be the greatest running back of all time, and that Lacy couldn't hold his jock, etc., etc., let me say this: I'm sure Richardson will be a huge asset to the Tide, but Nick Saban has always used a running back by committee.

I believe that Lacy could possibly steal the featured back spot.

The great news for us Tide fans is that no matter what, we are loading up with talent, and it seems as though the talent is going to keep rolling in. I'm a firm believer that competition in practice is very important to being a championship-caliber program.

That is our goal, and I believe that is where we are headed.

In my opinion, Lacy will help take us there.

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