The freshman who was good enough to share the Alabama backfield with Eddie Lacy in 2012 just might be better than Lacy himself, according to an NFL scout who has evaluated Crimson Tide junior T.J. Yeldon.
Lacy, of course, bloomed into the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year as a second-round draft pick of the Green Bay Packers last year and is well on his way to his second 1,000-yard season this season. Like Lacy, Yeldon is also on the brink of a 1,000-yard campaign as Alabama's top rusher this season; he is 68 yards short of his third such year in a row. An NFL scout told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that Yeldon brings more speed to the game than does the 230-pound Lacy.
"Different type than (Eddie) Lacy, but he could be (better)," the scout said. "He runs hard like Eddie. He has more speed than Eddie."
Yeldon has been limited by injuries this season but has missed only one start because of it, a Nov. 22 game against Western Carolina in which he was withheld more for precautionary reasons. He followed the week off with a season-high 127 yards in an Iron Bowl win over Auburn. He has also drawn scouting comparisons to former first-round draft picksDarren McFadden (Raiders) and DeAngelo Williams (Panthers).
In 2012, Lacy's junior and final year in college, he and Yeldon combined for 2,430 yards and 29 touchdowns in a season that culminated with Alabama's 42-14 BCS National Championship win over Notre Dame.
Yeldon has been mum about whether he plans to enter the 2015 NFL Draft. The deadline for underclassmen to file notice of draft eligibility to the league is Jan. 15. Yeldon will face Ohio State on Jan. 1 in a College Football Playoff semifinal, and with a win, would draw FSU or Oregon in the national championship game.