Alabama’s Trent Richardson: Best Running Back in ’12 Draft Class?


His predecessor, Mark Ingram won the Heisman trophy two years ago,  now Alabama Crimson Tide tailback Trent Richardson is the man in Tuscaloosa. No more splitting time, Ingram is with the Miami Dolphins, and Richardson’s the focus of #2 Bama’s offense.

As a rookie, Richardson was also named to the 2009 SEC All-Freshman team alongside teammates OL Barrett Jones and LB Nico Johnson. ‘Bama went 14-0 to win it all and in the 2010 BCS National Championship was a big part, accruing 109 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns.

As long as he stays healthy, and Richardson continues on his current course, he’ll likely forgo his senior season and declare for the NFL Draft where he’ll likely be a top ten pick; quite possibly the first back taken.

Last fall, Richardson started the first two games of the season as Ingram sat out due to an injury. In the season opener, Trent had 10 carries for 66 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also had 3 receptions for 46 yards. The following week against Penn State, he ran for a career-high 144 yards on 22 carries and a touchdown.

This week, Richardson and company prepare for a very tough test in the Arkansas Razorbacks. Richardson talked about the importance of finding the red zone, and then finding the end zone.

“It’s going to be pretty tough in the red zone to get touchdowns against Arkansas,” said the 5’11, 224 pound runner.

“Against teams like North Texas, we’re supposed to get stuff like that so we have to get better. I always say that we have a lot to work on as a team, as a unit, especially offensive-wise. We’re going to go fix it before this weekend, going to work hard so that we get into the end zone when we get into the red zone this week.”

It’ll be crucial for the Tide that they limit Razorbacks possessions; the offense needs to stay on the field as long as possible to keep their D fresh.

“It’s a big responsibility for us because Arkansas has a good offense. They’re going to try to score as many points as they can, and I know they have a good defense too. We have to back up our defense, every chance we can in the game,” Richardson said.

Richardson also talked about the influence Ingram has had on his career.

“He’ll always have a big role in my life. I try to follow in his footsteps, he’s one of the best running backs I’ve ever seen come through the collegiate level and play the game. He helped me out a lot with my vision, he had great vision. He could stop on a dime and cut real fast, that’s one thing I tried to pick up from him,” Richardson said.

Many runners have influenced Richardson, including Reggie Bush and the Vikings Adrian Peterson.

Richardson is frequently compared to Emmitt Smith, but his physique and running style are more similar to Earl Campbell. He’s also drawn comparisons to Michael Turner the Burner and O.J. Simpson (on the field, not off of it, of course). Considered a five-star recruit by, Richardson was listed as the No. 2 running back prospect in the nation and chose Alabama over Florida, Florida State, and LSU.

Richardson is known for his vision. He’s been complimented by numerous football people on his tendency to see and exploit the lanes. He also talked about what he works on everyday to make his job easier.

“I really try to work on everything, finishing my blocks, helping the offensive line out with their blocks, so my runs will be easier, and making their job much easier.”

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports, an official Google News site that generates millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

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