Alabama Football Post-Spring Depth Chart Predictions: Running Back

Chattanooga v Alabama
Chattanooga v Alabama / Brandon Sumrall/GettyImages

Heading into the 2024 season, Alabama might be as talented at running back as it has been in nearly half a decade. While the Tide has very little in terms of proven production, players like Jam Miller and Justice Haynes have flashed enough dynamic ability for Bama fans to be extremely excited to see them in increased roles.

Both players saw limited action behind Jase McClellan and Roydell Williams last season, but the younger duo was clearly more explosive. Haynes turned in a team-high 6.7 yards per carry as a true freshman in 2023 while Miller, also as a true freshman, posted a team-best 6.8 yards per tote in the previous year.

This pair should see most of the backfield snaps for Alabama this fall, and could take college football by storm. This unit may be overlooked by national media outlets, but it has the capacity to be one of the best in the country. 

1. Jam Miller (Junior)

Miller is the veteran in the room, as he is entering year three in the program. Through two seasons, he has amassed 496 yards from scrimmage with four touchdowns, including a receiving touchdown in last season’s SEC Championship game. 

Jam Miller is a very physical runner that keeps a low pad level and thrives on one-cut opportunities. His blue-collar approach and tendency to seek contact was on full display both on offense and special teams last season, when he became one of Bama’s best kick coverage players and even drew a targeting penalty in one game. 

2. Justice Haynes (Sophomore)

Haynes probably has the most raw talent in the room and could very well be RB1. He also has very promising intangibles. The son of former NFL running back Verron Haynes, Justice works tirelessly on his craft and remained in Tuscaloosa when others were transferring earlier in the offseason.

In 2023, he racked up 168 yards and two touchdowns on just 25 carries. While he was probably the most dynamic ball-carrier on the team, the nuances of the position seemed to keep him off the field. Ideally, he will enter year two as a much improved all-around player with regard to pass protection, ball security, and other details. 

While he has similarities to Jam Miller (low center of gravity, physicality, good speed), Justice Haynes has another gear that few possess. Haynes might be the shiftiest player in this position room and is very comfortable as a pass-catcher, making him all the more dangerous. The sophomore just has superstar qualities, and there is an electricity in the air when he touches the ball. I expect him to make a lot of big plays for Alabama this season.

3. Richard Young (Redshirt Freshman)

Richard Young, at one time a 5-star and one of the most sought-after backs in the class of 2023, is evidence of the depth Alabama has in the backfield. The redshirt freshman is probably capable of carrying a heavier load at this point in time, but Bama just shouldn’t need him to with Miller and Haynes leading the charge. 

With that being said, Young will probably be one of the better third-string running backs in college football. He should get respectable snaps in that role, and will be a good change-of-pace option for the Tide. 

4. Daniel Hill (Freshman)

Hill is one of two 2024 signees at running back for the Crimson Tide. At nearly 240 pounds, he brings an entirely different element to this room and could potentially be used in short yardage situations this fall. 

However, Daniel Hill is more than your prototypical goal line back, and will show it as he continues to develop. He is a very fluid athlete and an excellent pass-catcher who I believe will have a multifaceted role in this offense at some point in the future. 

5. Kevin Riley (Freshman)

Riley is a Tuscaloosa County product with impressive speed. A summer enrollee, he is a likely redshirt candidate this season. Riley is a very good player with lots of potential, but he steps into a loaded running back room and did not have the luxury of experiencing spring practice, so an acclimation period will be necessary. 

Overall, Alabama should be improved at the running back position. The unit as a whole figures to be a dangerous weapon in the Crimson Tide offense.