Replacing a running back like Najee Harris will not be easy.
The soon-to-be NFL draftee accounted for 61 percent of Alabama’s rushing yards and 70 percent of its rushing touchdowns in 2020.
Brian Robinson Jr. is the most experienced running back returning. He could’ve decided to enter the NFL draft, but Robinson chose to come back for his fifth season in Tuscaloosa.
“I just saw a lot of opportunities for me as far as investing time into this year and becoming a better player on and off the field,” Robinson said. “To get improvements in my draft grades and whatnot.”
On the field, Robinson ran for 483 yards and six touchdowns in 2020, both career highs. For his career he has 1,631 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Off the field, Robinson is looking to have more of an impact as Alabama not only lost a lot of production, but leaders as well.
“As an older guy, I’m one of the oldest guys on the team, it’s very important for me to step up and be a leader on this team,” he said. “I can have a great impact on the people around me. Making sure everybody is living up and doing what they are supposed to do the right way. We don’t want to have a falloff in leadership. We had great leadership last year.”
There are plenty of new faces in the backfield. That includes position coach Robert Gillespie.
“He is a very exciting coach,” Robinson said. “He has a lot of knowledge that can help us be better football players. I’m excited to take on this year with coach Gillespie. I know he will make me a better player every day.”
Though there’s not a lot of experienced depth in the running back room, there’s still a lot of talent. Jase McClellan (245 yards in 2020), Roydell Williams (71 yards last season), Keilan Robinson (opted out of 2020 season) and incoming five-star freshman Camar Wheaton are all in the mix.
Add in Trey Sanders, who has started individual workouts, though he isn’t 100 percent from his injury.
“Our room is very talented," Robinson said. "We have great players. It’s all going to come down to the competition. Keep competing and pushing each other to get better every day. There are no limits to what our running back room can stand up to.”