In 2023, Alabama Football senior running backs Jase McClellan and Roydell Williams carried the load in the Crimson Tide backfield.
McClellan and Williams combined for 291 carries and 317 total touches. The duo accounted for just over 80 percent of all touches by Alabama running backs last season. As a result, the Tide’s 2024 backfield will come in with a lot of tread on its collective tires.
With Jase McClellan declaring for the NFL Draft and Roydell Williams departing for Florida State via the NCAA transfer portal, scholarship running backs on the 2024 Alabama Football roster have just 108 career carries combined.
Junior Jam Miller has the majority of those, with 74 carries for 424 yards and three touchdowns through two seasons. Miller is a powerful and explosive runner who can expect his workload to increase significantly this season. He has also shown the ability to catch the football, making a big reception against LSU and another for a touchdown against Georgia in the SEC Championship game.
Former 5-star recruits Justice Haynes and Richard Young were part of a loaded 2023 recruiting class for Alabama Football. Having both played small roles as true freshmen, their responsibilities will increase this fall.
Haynes saw just 25 carries, amassing 168 yards on a team-high 6.7 yards per carry and scoring two touchdowns. He has been a fan favorite since his recruitment, and continues to show flashes of his potential. Most recently, Alabama Football fans saw him ripping off multiple first down runs in an eventual Rose Bowl loss to Michigan.
Young saw even fewer opportunities, toting the rock just nine times in his true freshman season. He was able to get in the end zone against UT-Chattanooga but, unlike Miller and Haynes, did not see playing time in any meaningful moments.
Behind this trio of relatively inexperienced returnees, Alabama Football brings in two highly-touted freshmen in 4-star running backs Kevin Riley and Daniel Hill. The running back position was a major uncertainty in Bama’s 2024 recruiting class for a long time, but the Tide ultimately ended up with two good backs. It flipped speedy hometown product Kevin Riley from Miami on Signing Day back in December, and was able to land Hill in early January after a long and puzzling recruitment.
The five running backs on Alabama’s roster enter 2024 with a lot less game experience than the five that the Tide went into 2023 with. With Jam Miller going into year three as a contributor, there is just enough experience to prevent discomfort amongst Alabama Football fans. Additionally, Miller, Haynes, and Young should all grow quickly, assuming they will play major roles in the offense.
It will be very exciting to watch this running back room in 2024, if for no other reason than we have never seen any of these guys operate in a full-time capacity. The talent and near-limitless potential in this room will only make them that much more fun to watch.