Don’t ask any Alabama yearbook committee. Josh Jacobs has it handled. He already figured out superlatives for his fellow running backs.
The sophomore has pegged juniors Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough as “the class clown” and “the hype man,” respectively. For the freshmen, Brian Robinson was named “the sleeper” and Najee Harris was simply called “chill.”
Jacobs doesn’t know what to label himself.
Fear not, Alabama coach Nick Saban does.
“I think he’s a really good change-of-pace guy,” Saban said. “He’s a guy to create roles for because he has a lot of diversity as a player. He’s a very good receiver. He’s an inside runner; he’s an outside runner.”
This season, Jacobs has carried the ball 16 times for 124 yards. He averages 7.8 yards per carry and 24.8 yards per game. He has only played in five of Alabama’s seven games because he was returning from a hamstring injury in the beginning. Jacobs has also caught four passes for 72 yards and a touchdown.
Most recently, against Arkansas, Jacobs had nine runs for 39 yards and two receptions for 36 yards. It was the healthiest he has felt so far. The team is happy to have him back.
“Well, you know, Josh, he is a really good back and presents a lot of problems for us at practice,” Alabama linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton said. “He’s the reason why you get cussed out a lot of times. He can do it all. He can run you over. He can make you miss.”
Think of him as the total package. The Crimson Tide does.
As for running people over, the 5-foot-10, 212-pound bowling ball is shorter and lighter than all of the other active players in his position group. Only he has a way of making it work to his advantage, and it’s not always a physical battle.
“Really, I strategically do certain things,” Jacobs said. “Like if I have a player and I try to run him over, next time I see him I might try to juke him. It’s all like mind games really.”
It gets to a point where Jacobs is inside his opponent’s head. He can tell when that happens because whoever is covering him will hesitate instead of charging full speed.
Hamilton said Jacobs can do it all. Damien Harris added in a “kind of” to that statement.
There’s one thing that hasn’t been addressed: Jacobs’ ability to throw the ball. He did play as a wildcat quarterback at McLain High School.
“No, he can’t,” Harris said. “I’m here to tell you all he can’t throw the ball.”
It was a carefree interjection, but Jacobs did admit it has been a long time since he legitimately threw anything and he isn’t sure if he still could. Regardless, he can do just about everything else in a way that’s different from the norm.
Maybe Jacobs should be dubbed the unique one.
“I kind of bring my own style of running,” Jacobs said.