No RB1 for the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2024 season

Kalen DeBoer is known as a passing game wizard, but don't sleep on his use of the Alabama Crimson Tide running backs.
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

A couple of weeks ago, a ranking of college football's top running back groups angered Alabama Crimson Tide fans. The ranking was college football's sixth-best group. Diving deeper into national opinions of individual running backs rankles Alabama football fans even more.

One ranking of running backs provided by Sports Grid listed 26 running backs better than any Crimson Tide running back. Gaining the No. 27 spot on their Top 40 list was Alabama sophomore, Justice Haynes. No other Alabama running back was included.

A hungry Alabama Crimson Tide running back group

When the 2024 season is complete, there may be one reason why Justice Haynes is not in the top 15 most productive running backs in college football. The reason is Kalen DeBoer and Robert Gillespie may not have an RB1 next season. After his spring game performance, it can be argued Jam Miller has the best chance to be the Crimson Tide's lead back. Following the A-Day Game, Jalen Milroe defined Miller well, "Jam runs downhill. Passionate, hard, physical back. He’s hungry." Miller was MVP of the Tide's spring game, rushing for 83 yards on just eight carries. Milroe is right, but there is no less hunger in Justice Haynes or Richard Young.

Instead of an RB1, Alabama is likely to have an RB1A and an RB1B, as in two lead backs who rotate so frequently that getting the game's first snap will not matter. If an RB1A was chosen today, there is no way of knowing if it would be Jam Miller or Justice Haynes.

The pair can be fairly described as one of college football's best 1-2 punches at running back. Only one team has a credible claim of having a better pair. That is Ohio State with TreVeyon Henderson and Quinshon Judkins.

Also part of the Tide's running back rotation will be former 5-Star, and now sophomore Richard Young. Young earned praise for his spring work and stood out on a touchdown run in the A-Day Game.

Two highly-touted freshmen, Kevin Riley and Daniel Hill give Bama a deep running back bench. They may see little work in 2024, unless one of the Tide's top three are injured but the freshmen could deliver if needed.

Kalen DeBoer is known for passing schemes and explosive plays. Last season at Washington, only one running back got more than 44 carries. Dillon Johnson was the Washington workhorse with 233 carries and 24 receptions. It will be very different in the coming season and a three-man rotation can mean always having a fresh running back in the game. DeBoer's many offensive formations will include some snaps with two running backs.

Let the college football world crow about running backs and running back groups. It will just motivate the Bama guys more.

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