TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The future has arrived.
Early Tuesday afternoon, the first wave of incoming freshman shuffled into Bryant Hall on the University of Alabama campus to be welcomed as the newest members of the Crimson Tide.
As expected, eight early enrollees will get a coveted head start on the Class of 2012, arriving a semester ahead of schedule and allowing time to get settled in before the start of spring practice.
Of those eager athletes, arguably none has a greater opportunity to make an instant ascension up the rungs of the Alabama depth chart than ESPNU 150 running back T.J. Yeldon. With Trent Richardson likely headed to the NFL, the crater-sized hole left behind by the Heisman Trophy finalist opens the door for a slew of hungry ball carriers. Sophomore tailbacks Eddie Lacy and Jalston Fowler will have something to say about who steps into Richardson's shoes, but don't discount Yeldon's potential to make noise in an already crowded backfield.
Yeldon's coach at Daphne High, Glenn Vickery, said he expects his former player's name to be called by Alabama coaches from the start.