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Monday, August 12, 2013
The SEC's best 25 players: No. 11

By Edward Aschoff

The next player in our countdown of the SEC's best 25 players made quite the impression as a freshman and should have plenty more opportunities to best opponents for the next couple of seasons.

No. 11: T.J. Yeldon, RB, Alabama, So.

2012 summary: The SEC all-freshman member was second on the Crimson Tide with 1,108 rushing yards and  scored 12 touchdowns. He also averaged 6.3 yards per carry and caught 11 passes for 131 yards and another score.

Most recent ranking: Not ranked in the 2012 postseason countdown.

Making the case for Yeldon: He might not have been the starter last fall, but it was hard to tell by looking at his stats on paper. Just about every other team in the SEC would have loved to have Yeldon taking the bulk of the carries for them. He was the first freshman in Alabama history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season and to rush for 100 yards in his debut game. He finished 2012 with five 100-yard rushing games and was held out of the end zone in just four games. Yeldon really can do it all. He's a grinder up the middle but also has the moves to be an extremely dangerous player in the open field. He's a powerful runner who can turn into a home-run threat in an instant. What makes Yeldon so good isn't just his ability to be a bully in the backfield, he can also sprint out and be a valuable receiving threat for the Tide. He has great vision and hands and adds yet another weapon to an already stacked receiving corps. Now that Eddie Lacy is gone, Yeldon is the leader of the running back unit. He had a great spring in Tuscaloosa, and it sounds like he's more than ready to be the go-to guy in the backfield. He's primed for a huge season this fall.

The rundown