Now that Alabama State has acquired the services of once highly touted Georgia running back Isaiah Crowell this week, balance of power has shifted in the Southwestern Athletic Conference Eastern Division and added depth to the running back position throughout the league.
But is the sophomore transfer the clear cut best running back in the conference? Here are the preseason’s three best ball carriers in the SWAC.
Dawrence Roberts – Grambling State
After the Tigers lost thoroughbred Frank Warren, head coach Doug Williams was searching for that lead dog to carry the load.
At first, none of the running backs stood out. That was until Roberts amassed 386 yards over a two-game span last year that vaulted him into the starting lineup permanently.
In just 10 games, Roberts totaled 1,102 yards, eight touchdowns on 5.5 yards per carry. The unknown soon helped lead Grambling to a SWAC championship, and establish himself as the premiere back in the conference.
Kaderius Lacey–Alabama A&M
Kaderius Lacey is simply a bruiser in the Bulldogs backfield. The SWAC’s leading rusher from a season ago helped bang AAMU to the conference championship game with more grittiness than shiftiness totaling 1,143 yards, eight touchdowns on 286 attempts wearing down defenses along the way. Expect Bulldogs head coach Anthony Jones to continue to give the ball to Lacey in 2012 against stacked defensive run-stuffing schemes.
Isaiah Crowell–Alabama State
During the never-ending football recruiting season of 2011, Isaiah Crowell was rated by multiple amateur services as the No. 1 running back prospect in the country coming out of Carver High School in Columbus, Ga.
And in 2011 the freshman did not disappoint rushing for 850 yards and five touchdowns at Georgia. For his efforts, Crowell was named the SEC Freshman of the Year. Facing less fierce defenses of the SWAC, it figures Crowell could easily be the best rusher in all of the FCS.