SEC football: 2015 Heisman hopefuls

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Jan 1, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide running back Derrick Henry (27) jumps with the ball during the first half of the 2015 Sugar Bowl against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Derrick Henry, running back, Alabama

With the departure of T.J. Yeldon to the NFL, it is Derrick Henry’s time to shine at Alabama.

Henry split carries nearly 50-50 with Yeldon in 2014, and with his predecessor no longer on the roster, the hype surrounding the junior running back is at an all-time high.

Highly-touted freshman Bo Scarbrough’s status is up in the air after he suffered a torn ACL during the spring game, leaving Henry to shoulder the bulk of the rushing load for Alabama.

The high volume of carries coming his way, along with his big play potential, is a large reason why he should be one of the top Heisman candidates throughout the season.

Henry may not have been the focal point of Alabama’s rushing attack during his first two seasons with the team, but he is still undoubtedly the most seasoned back on this list. He was rarely used as a freshman in 2013, but after torching Oklahoma for 161 total yards and two touchdowns on just nine touches in the Sugar Bowl, the Crimson Tide had no choice but to find a spot for their emerging star.

Alabama may have lost that game, but they managed to find their running back of the future in the process. After falling just short of the 1,000-yard mark last year, expect Henry to have a breakout season as the feature back.

If Alabama has a succesful 2015 campaign, Henry should find himself in the heart of the Heisman discussion.

Next: Leonard Fournette