You have to give Malcolm Cyrus a lot of credit. It’s not like the former Autaugaville High star expected to be the star running back at Alabama State. But on the other hand, he really did.
Every player envisions himself as the star and for Cyrus some early drops on punt returns — where he had set national high school records for touchdowns at Autaugaville — had at eat at him.
In 2012 and 2013, any hopes he’s had of being the star tailback has been replaced by a sense of reality. Reality, that is, in the form of Isaiah Crowell.
Cyrus kept plugging away, getting his 10 or 12 carries each game as Crowell’s backup. But in the second half of the Hornets’ last game, a wild overtime thriller with Prairie View A&M, he carried the Hornet offense because of injuries to Crowell and Alabama State’s top two quarterbacks, Daniel Duhart and Arsenio Favor.
It might not earn him additional playing time (he is, after all, playing behind one of the best tailbacks in America), but it certainly made him a favorite of Hornet fans and their head coach, Reggie Barlow.
“It just shows me he’s a warrior,” Barlow said. “We’ll continue to divide (the playing time) up. With Isaiah, we know what we get with him, but he’s not always going to be in there for whatever reason. It feels good to know we can put Malcolm in there and when Isaiah’s ready to go back in, he can go.
“Malcolm catches the ball really well out of the backfield so there are some things we can do with him as far as our screen game. That game last week just showed me how tough that kid actually is with running the ball, catching the ball, blocking, running back punts, all that stuff.”