- Chris Low, ESPN Senior Staff Writer
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It’s not every day that a team has a Heisman Trophy winner returning, and some in and around the program are wondering if his backup might be even better.
Running back Mark Ingram became the first Alabama player in history last season to win the Heisman Trophy. He rushed for 1,658 yards and scored 20 touchdowns.
Is it too farfetched to think that Trent Richardson might be the second from Alabama to take home college football’s most prestigious individual award somewhere down the road?
It makes for good conversation, and at the same time, underscores how well stocked the Crimson Tide will be at running back in 2010. Don’t forget about redshirt freshman Eddie Lacy, either.
While Alabama’s at the head of the class in the SEC when it comes to being the most prepared to replace a key player, the Crimson Tide’s hardly the only team with quality depth in key spots.
One of the best examples is Georgia’s offensive line, specifically senior left tackle Clint Boling. The Bulldogs have eight lettermen returning up front, and while Boling has played both guard and tackle during his career, offensive line coach Stacy Searels could have some flexibility if Trinton Sturdivant and Tanner Strickland both come back healthy in the fall.
Sturdivant was Georgia’s starting left tackle for 13 games as a true freshman. The Bulldogs’ coaches felt like he was their best offensive lineman at the time, but he’s missed each of the past two seasons after tearing up his left knee. Strickland could also be a factor at guard after missing last season with a shoulder injury.
The Arkansas receiving corps is another position that’s among the deepest in the league.
Greg Childs, Joe Adams, Jarius Wright and Cobi Hamilton are all big-time players in their own right. And when you throw in tight end D.J. Williams, it’s a collection of pass-catchers that any quarterback would love to have.
Losing one of those guys would hurt the Hogs’ passing game, but it certainly wouldn’t devastate it.
Ole Miss’ depth at defensive tackle is equally staggering. Jerrell Powe is one of the top two or three interior defensive linemen in the SEC. But the Rebels will be able to run tackles in and out of the game next season with the likes of Ted Laurent, Lawon Scott, LaMark Armour and Justin Smith.
LSU would have several options in its secondary if something were to happen to one of the starters.
Junior cornerback Patrick Peterson is the backbone of the unit, but the Tigers made some changes this spring and essentially went with four cornerbacks as the four starters. Jai Eugene moved from cornerback to safety, while safety Brandon Mitchell has also played a lot of cornerback during his career.
Sophomore cornerback Morris Claiborne looks like he’s going to follow in Peterson’s footsteps as one of the SEC's best, while junior cornerback Ron Brooks has also played a lot of quality snaps for the Tigers. If redshirt freshman safety Craig Loston comes around next season, that would give the Tigers’ even more flexibility in an already deep and talented secondary.
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