Alabama coach Nick Saban says tailback Jess McClellan is out for the year with a knee injury, giving the team three healthy scholarships back.
Saban said Monday that top-ranked Crimson Tide’s second leading rusher is set for surgery on Tuesday. McClellan was injured in a victory over No. 17 Mississippi, when Brian Robinson Jr. ran 36 times for 171 yards and four touchdowns.
Alabama visits Texas A&M on Saturdays.
McClellan is second on the team with 40 carries for 191 yards and one touchdown. He also took 10 catches for 97 yards along with the other three scores and scored a blocked punt return against Mercer.
Saban said, ‘Jess is a very good player. “Very good job as a runner as well as a blocker as well as a very good special teams player. We have to replace him in a lot of areas on our team, but we have faith in Roydale (Williams), and I think he will do a good job.
“Trey Sanders is going to have more opportunities now and he should be able to move on and continue to make progress.”
McClellan made his debut against Southern Miss when Robinson was battling a rib injury. McClellan had 97 yards on 12 carries and also caught a 9-yard touchdown pass.
“Jess is contributing very well to our offense,” Robinson said after Saturday’s win over the Rebels. “He is doing a great job just playing an important role, just playing his role to the best of his ability.
“It’s our job to be with him and keep him and keep him motivated so that when he comes back he can make a great comeback.”
That leaves more carries for Williams, who has averaged 6.4 yards on 24, and Sanders. Sanders is a former five-star recruit who has run for 83 yards.
Saban said freshman Camer Wheaton, another five-star signer, has not been cleared to practice because of a knee injury. Saban said coaches would look to other players with experience running back as potential emergency fillip.
“I don’t think there’s a question that gives us a lot of confidence in Roydale,” said the Tide coach. “When he got a chance to play, he played well. She’s got some wide play time in the brob missed game against Southern Miss. We have great faith in him. “
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