2012 NFL draft profile: Trent Richardson

Updated: September 7, 2011, 6:31 PM ET
By Teddy Mitrosilis

The stories born in the Alabama Crimson Tide weight room, amid clanking racks of iron and freshly powdered hands ready to work, are retold in mythical tones.

Two years ago, a kid ranked as the No. 1 running back in his class by ESPNU arrived in Tuscaloosa from Pensacola, Fla., and immediately displayed a level of physicality and strength in workouts that is typically reserved for bigger, and older, players who prove their worth fighting in the trenches.

The running back proved to strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran that lifting thresholds used to evaluate other freshmen weren't set nearly high enough for him.

They say the running back cleaned 365 pounds on his first day and asked for more weight.

They say he benched more than 400 pounds and called it "easy."

They say the kid quickly earned the nickname "The Freak," because, well, what else does society call a young athlete blessed with a 4.4 40-yard dash and other physical gifts unbeknownst to most?

As Trent Richardson now prepares for his junior season at Alabama, he has no interest in refuting any of the stories that have made him a 5-foot-11, 224-pound lifting legend.

"I surprise myself everyday in the weight room," Richardson said. "Coach Cochran is scared to put weight on and won't let me max out, but I just love lifting weights. I love the work."

Richardson, a junior, has more work on his plate than ever before: He's now Alabama's alpha male in the backfield for the first time in his college career, with Mark Ingram now on the New Orleans Saints.