Damien Harris scores the Tide's first TD (Photo by Stuart McNair)

Know Your Foe - Alabama Running Backs

Alabama has had a nice run of tailbacks in the Nick Saban Era. The list of featured Crimson Tide running backs includes Mark Ingram, the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner, and Derrick Henry, winner of the Heisman in 2015.

For most of the past 10 years, Alabama has had a pattern to the tailback depth chart with a number one tailback succeeded by the back-up. Ingram followed Glen Coffey, Trent Richardson followed Ingram, Richardson was followed by Eddie Lacy, Lacy by T.J. Yeldon, Yeldon by Henry.

But this year there was no backup to Derrick Henry to move into the spot. Henrys’s backup, Kenyan Drake, was a senior in 2015 and joined Henry in the NFL draft.

To some degree, Alabama has had running back by committee under Saban with the second, and sometimes the third man, getting substantial work.

In 2015, the men behind Henry and Drake were true freshmen, Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough. Harris (5-11, 214) has been the starting tailback for most of the season, and he and Scarbrough (6-2, 228), along with true freshman Josh Jacobs (5-10, 204) divide the tailback work.

A fourth man, freshman B.J. Emmons (6-0, 206), was in the competition before suffering a broken foot midway through the season.

Harris started all but two games at tailback – against his homestate university, Kentucky, when Jacobs got the call, and against Tennessee, when Scarbrough started. Harris almost certainly will be listed as the probable starter when the Crimson Tide takes on Washington in the Peach Bowl on Dec. 31, the semifinal game of the College Football Playoff.

The big change in the Alabama running attack this year is that quarterback Jalen Hurts has been a major part of rushing. Hurts has the most carries (162), second most yards (841), and most touchdowns (12).

Alabama followers compare the Tide’s trio of tailbacks to previous Alabama star running backs.

Harris, who has 132 carries for 983 yards (7.4 per carry), and 2 touchdowns, is likened to Eddie Lacy, now of the Green Bay Packers.

Scarbrough, 90 carries for 539 yards (6.0 per carry) and 7 TDs, to Derrick Henry, now with the Tennessee Titans.

Jacobs, 83 carries for 551 yards (6.6 per carry) and 4 TDs, to Mark Ingram, now with the New Orleans Saints.

All three have inside power and outside speed, and all three have been used on occasion as receivers.

The perception of Alabama is that of a team that relies primarily on the running game, but throughout the Saban Era there has been balance in the offense. That is true again this season with Bama rushing for 3,185 yards (245 per game) and passing for 2,592 (199.4 per game).

Bo Scarbrough hurdles a teammate (Photo by Stuart McNair)

Alabama Tailbacks

Damien Harris (5-11, 214, So.)

Bo Scarbrough (6-2, 228, So.)

Joshua Jacobs (5-10, 204, Fr.)

Derrick Gore (5-11, 210 So.)

*B.J. Emmons (6-0, 206, Fr.)


Coming Soon

^Najee Harris (6-2, 221)

Brian Robinson (6-2, 218)

^Ranked No. 1 prospect in nation by Scout


Know Your Foe - Alabama Quarterbacks


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