Alabama Football: Trent Richardson Is the Tide's Other Star Running Back

Joe MorganSenior Analyst IAugust 11, 2010

Alabama's Trent Richardson averaged 5.2 yards per carry as a freshman in 2009.
Alabama's Trent Richardson averaged 5.2 yards per carry as a freshman in 2009.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Alabama running back Mark Ingram was one of the top players in college football last season, rushing for 1,658 yards on 271 carries and 17 touchdowns on his way to winning the Heisman Trophy.

The first Crimson Tide player to ever win the Heisman Trophy, Ingram was instrumental in delivering Alabama's first national championship since 1992, winning MVP honors in the national title game after rushing for 116 yards and two touchdowns.

However, while Ingram had a stellar season, he was not alone in making the Crimson Tide the third-best rushing offense in the SEC last season.

Sophomore Trent Richardson, the No. 2 running back recruit in the Class of 2009 according to, earned nothing but the highest praise from head coach Nick Saban when he arrived in Tuscaloosa last year.

Saban called Richardson "the real key to the class" and said that he was "an outstanding player at a position that a young player can contribute next year."

I don't know if you can call Saban a prophet, but he was pretty spot-on in describing Alabama's newest rushing phenom.

Richardson broke onto the scene as one of the nation's top freshmen in 2009, carrying the ball 145 times for 751 yards and eight touchdowns for Alabama.

Even though he was overshadowed by Ingram's performance, Richardson's contributions did not go unnoticed as he was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team.

Yet, while No. 3 put up great stats during his entire freshman campaign, he saved his best clutch performance for the BCS National Championship Game against the Texas Longhorns.

Ingram was named the game's offensive MVP after rushing for 116 yards and two touchdowns in the 37-21 victory, but Richardson could have just as easily taken home the MVP hardware.

Richardson picked up 109 rushing yards on 19 carries and scored two touchdowns, including an electric 49-yard score in the second quarter.

Although he has a national championship under his belt after just one season of college football, Richardson is not one to get comfortable with his accomplishments.

Named to the preseason All-SEC first team as a running back along with Ingram, the Crimson Tide are expecting big things from Richardson in his second season in Tuscaloosa--especially Ingram.

"I think he should be preseason All-SEC, All-American, All-Everything on every award, because he's a great player," Ingram told Don Kausler, Jr. of The Birmingham News. "He's explosive. He's dynamic. He's getting smarter as a student of the game every day."

However, Ingram believes his teammate has only barely scratched the surface and that should be downright frightening for opposing defenses.

"[Richardson]'s getting better and he's improving every single day," Ingram continued. "It'll be scary to see when he reaches his full potential what he'll be capable of doing."