2023 Alabama recruit Richard Young, a 4-star running back out of Lehigh Acres, Florida, was compared by ESPN’s Craig Haubert and Tom Luginbill to a former NFL first-round pick who was part of the Crimson Tide’s 2017 College Football Playoff national championship team and became a 2x Pro Bowler, Josh Jacobs.
The ESPN reporting pair compared the games of Young and Jacobs, noting the stark similarities between the two Alabama running backs.
“Young is a feature back who is also effective in third-down situations,” ESPN prefaced. “A slashing runner who can push the pile and has contact balance, he is a rare blend of power (5-11, 195) and suddenness. He may not possess elite top-end speed (he still ran a 10.8 100-meter in high school and consistently pulled away on long runs), however neither did Jacobs, who ran a 4.6 40 at the NFL combine.”
ESPN then noted that Alabama offenses have often featured production-by-committee approaches before outlining what Young needs to do in order to be a valuable cog in such a platoon.
“Since 2008, Alabama has not been a typical featured back offense; instead, it features different skill sets and shapes and sizes with a regular rotation,” the ESPN duo wrote. “Jacobs has proven a running back does not have to get every carry to develop into a first-round draft choice. Young needs to prove his value as a receiving back to produce early in a rotation with fellow freshman Justice Haynes and seniors Jase McClellan and Roydell Williams.”
Richard Young ‘Locked in’ on Alabama
During Young’s commitment announcement on December 21, the Lehigh Senior product said he was “locked in on Bama” via the News-Press’ Alex Martin.
“I just know that when I get to Bama, I’ve got to compete,” he said. “Everything is 100 percent. Even class, 100 percent. Everything. I’ve got to go in and compete, compete, compete.”
Young referenced fellow Class of 2023 running back recruit Justice Haynes when talking about how he will improve once he gets to Tuscaloosa.
“Me and (Buford RB) Justice Haynes have to compete together and make each other better,” Young said.
Richard Young ‘Starting at the Bottom’ in Alabama RB Room
Young’s coach at Lehigh, James Chaney, noted that for essentially the running back’s entire life, he has been on top. At Alabama, though, Chaney adds that Young will be starting at the bottom.
“Richard Young has been on the top of the mountain for a long time,” Chaney said. “Youth football, high school football, he’s been on top. Now, he’s gotta go somewhere where he’s starting at the bottom.
Chaney looks forward to seeing Young grow in how he reacts to the Nick Saban’s staff’s coaching.
“What I want him to progress into is to handle things maturely, being able to work his way back into situations, being able to deal with being in the doghouse, being able to deal with being on top,” Chaney said. “I’m most looking forward to seeing him grow into that type of a person. I don’t think he’s gonna have a problem with it. College has its challenges and being somewhere like the University of Alabama, he’s going to be around a lot of special athletes. I’m looking forward to seeing how he handles situations that arise.”