Eddie Lacy showed a lot of patience during his time at the University of Alabama, and I’m not just talking about his ability to hit holes at the right time. He walked onto campus in 2009 as a four star recruit with promise. However, right along side him was fellow freshman and five star recruit Trent Richardson. Oh, and returning starter Mark Ingram, who would only go on to win the Heisman Trophy that season, also clogged their running back depth chart up.
So Lacy redshirted his first year and watched as Ingram led the Crimson Tide to the national championship, rushing for 1,658 yards and 17 touchdowns. He finally got on the field the following year. He carried the ball just 56 times behind Ingram and Richardson, but averaged 7.3 yards per carry and added six touchdowns. In 2011, Lacy earned 95 carries as Richardson’s backup, and led the team with 7.1 yards per carry to go along with seven rushing scores.
This past season, Ingram and Richardson were both finally gone, and it was Lacy’s time to lead the Alabama backfield. Except the Crimson Tide also happened to be welcoming the state’s Mr. Football onto campus, freshman running back T.J. Yeldon. Lacy was still the lead back, rushing for 1,322 yards and 17 touchdowns, but Yeldon’s presence definitely limited his potential somewhat, as he added 1,108 yards on 175 carries. In fact, in the four years Lacy was in Tuscaloosa, head coach Nick Saban only gave the most carries to his second string running back in 2012, Lacy’s only year as the starter.
Despite not ever truly getting the carries of a lead back, he certainly played liked it. He’s an extremely powerful back; he almost always falls forward. That is, when defenders can bring him down. And even at 231 lbs, he has the speed to burst through holes and get to the second level. Think of Ricky Williams, with perhaps some extra agility. He has room for improvement in the passing game, though; he caught 35 passes for 338 yards and two touchdowns in three years but with his strength he can be decent in pass protection.
Lacy also has a great go to move at his disposal: a lethal spin that earned him the nickname, “Circle Button,” after the control used in PlayStation to execute such a move. Check out this highlight video, just a minute long clip of only plays from the 2013 BCS National Championship game, that showcases his strength, burst, and change of direction, capped off with a patented spin.
Now Lacy leaves Alabama without ever fully carrying the load for his team. Like I said, he’s exercised great patience thus far, but he shouldn’t have to wait much longer to get his chance to do so at the next level. Our mock draft currently has him going 26th overall to the Green Bay Packers, which seems like a perfect fit. They have the biggest hole at running back out of the teams selecting at the end of the first round, where Lacy is expected to go.
I’d like his chances to gain playing time against the likes of James Starks, Alex Green, DuJuan Harris, and Brandon Saine. He could take some pressure off of Aaron Rodgers (not that he needs another weapon) and add a dimension to the Packers’ offense that they haven’t had since Ryan Grant broke the 1,000 yard plateau in 2009. If Lacy can avoid yet another crowded backfield, he can shine.
By: Joe Diglio