SDS’ top 25 players of 2012: No. 6 Eddie Lacy

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SDS is continually counting down the top 25 players in the SEC for 2012, and we’re not stopping until we get to that sexy No. 1. We don’t just rank stats or project players at the next level based on athletic superiority, but we rank players based on the season they had in 2012. I know you’ll agree with every single one…

No. 6 – Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama

2012 stats: 204 carries for 1,322 yards and 17 touchdowns; 22 catches for 189 yards and two touchdowns

Why he’s worthy: Appropriately nicknamed the Circle Button, Eddie Lacy helped spin the Tide to another SEC and national championship. Lacy wasn’t even first-team All-SEC by most accounts, but he epitomized the toughness, heart and soul of the Crimson Tide, winning two championships in three years and overachieving throughout his three-year career. He fought through injuries and was never truly healthy until the five-week layoff before the national championship game.

Many of you will argue that Lacy wasn’t even the most talented running back on his own team. It’s true – the ceiling is higher for freshman sensation TJ Yeldon, but there was no player better in the second half of 2012 when it mattered the most than Lacy. Mid-season, Lacy was considered a top 20 player. With 75 percent of the season in the books, Lacy’s was a top 15 player. But the way he finished his career on the country’s two biggest stages was quite striking.

Lacy’s season progressively got better, and he epitomized finishing strong, rushing for 726 yards and 10 touchdowns in his final six games.

He saved two of his best career games for last in the two most important games of the season. He registered 40 carries for 320 yards and three rushing touchdowns, torching both Georgia and Notre Dame on the ground. He hung a 181 spot against Georgia and 140 spot against Notre Dame in three quarters in two championship games. How’s that for showing up in big games?

Lacy’s draft stock soared during the second half, too, and the lasting image Lacy left us with was his stiff-armed throw down against Notre Dame linebacker Danny Spond that made him an internet sensation.

Playing in the shadow of former Alabama greats Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson was tough to follow, but Lacy was ready to create his own legacy as the featured back in the Bama offense.

In 2011, Lacy made Richardson better, toting the rock 95 times for 674 yards and seven touchdowns. And in 2012, it was TJ Yeldon who helped make Lacy better, pushing him and keeping him fresh down the grueling stretch.

Lacy will remind you of a modern day Jamal Lewis, the former Tennessee Vols and Baltimore Ravens star. Lacy’s compact 6-0, 225-pound frame packs a punch upon impact, and his speed surprises even the country’s best linebackers…just ask Manti Te’o. And his spin move needs no introduction – it’s downright nasty.

You can argue Lacy was the third or fourth best running back in the league, but he made himself a great player and surpassed expectations of what many may have envisioned for him to accomplish during his Alabama career. And Lacy epitomized the overachieving success of the 2012 Alabama team.

The Bama-NFL running back pipeline is alive and well, as Lacy will likely be a second-round pick in April’s draft. He finished his career with 355 carries for 2,402 yards and 30 rushing touchdowns.

The Countdown

Photo Credit: Eileen Blass-USA TODAY Sports

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