Jan 7, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide running back T.J .Yeldon (4) runs with the ball against Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker Prince Shembo (55) during the 2013 BCS Championship game at Sun Life Stadium. Alabama won 42-14. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Four Downs: The New Normal of Running Back Recruiting


Welcome to Four Downs, SaturdayBlitz.com’s tour of your mandatory morning reads around the ‘Net.

Sports Illustrated: The New RB Reality: Top Recruits Will Split The Workload

Running back recruiting is a different game for Alabama. While convention suggests five star prospects seek showcase placement within a team, Nick Saban has the most elite rushers accepting of the new normal: a shared workload pays dividends.

Saban’s philosophy isn’t just true from a team perspective, either. Eddie Lacy was widely regarded the second best running back on his own Alabama team, behind freshman T.J. Yeldon. Yet, Lacy could be the first running back selected in April’s NFL Draft. Should Lacy go first among his running back peers, he will be the second Tide product to do so.

Recruits recognize that they don’t have to rack up gaudy stats to move to the next level from Alabama. In fact, the lessened damage from a lightened workload might in fact be a draft day benefit. Credit highly touted prep prospects like Derrick Henry for their prescience.

Devil in the Details: Five ASU Newcomers Who Could Make An Impact In 2013

Arizona State is a team to watch in the 2013 Pac-12 Conference championship chase, and Todd Graham is being in recruits that could make an immediate impact in that decision. Four star linebacker Chans Cox is one instant impact recruit to keep tabs on; The defensive dynamo is the latest gem mined from the small but talent-rich eastern Arizona pipeline of the White Mountains.

Talking 12: Big 12 Lagging Behind Other Conferences in Recruiting

The dominance of the SEC on the recruiting trail is leaving other conferences wanting. Facing surges from schools in the Pac-12, like UCLA and Washington, and the Big Ten arms race between rivals Michigan and Ohio State, the Big 12 is not as fortuitous on the recruiting trail.

No one from the league cracks Rivals.com’s top 10. Texas is No. 17 — respectable, but far off the top five mark that made the Longhorns title contenders routinely from the early 2000s through the end of the decade.

Rivals.com: Is Georgia Part of the Recruiting Elite?

The nation’s No. 1 overall prospect, Robert Nkemdiche, comes not from Florida, Texas or California — long considered the Big Three of college football recruiting. No, Nkemdiche is from Georgia, a state that is producing top tier talent with greater regularity. Add Montravius Adams, Carl Lawson and Vonn Bell to the 2013 class, and the Peach State certainly looks like one of the nation’s recruiting hotbeds.

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Tags: Alabama Crimson Tide Arizona State Sun Devils College Football Recruiting Football

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