NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A few years ago when Josh Jacobs set foot on campus at Alabama he wasn’t even listed among the top 100 ranked running back recruits in the country.
On Friday night he was the first running back taken in the NFL Draft.
In the first round.
The 5-foot-10, 216-pound powerhouse went No. 24 overall to the Oakland Raiders.
“I just feel so blessed,” Jacobs said. “I have worked very hard to get to this moment and all that hard work has paid off.”
Jacobs is the first Alabama running back taken in the first round since Trent Richardson in 2012.
Jacobs rushed for just 640 yards with 11 touchdowns last season for the Crimson Tide. But it wasn’t his yards that impressed NFL scouts. He gained a reputation as hard-charging running back not afraid to deliver a big hit on defenders with or without the ball. His draft stock continued to rise after the combine and he said he’s ready to deliver more big hits for the Raiders.
“Obviously I play this game because I love it,” Jacobs said. “I put so much into this game I want to go down as one of the best to every do it. Regardless if it happens that way or not I’m always going to play hard.”
It will be awhile before Jacobs signs a contract with Oakland, but he already knows the first thing he’s going to do with his first paycheck.
“I’m not really a big-spend kind of guy,” Jacobs said. “I don’t plan on spending my checks. I want to save and plan and have my family set for the future. I plan to live off my endorsements and things like that.”
Jacobs will have a proven veteran to learn from in Oakland. Marshawn Lynch is the Raiders’ starter. Lynch, like Jacobs, is known for delivering punishing hits on defenders.
“Oh, man it’s going to be fun playing with him,” Jacobs said. “He’s such a great player and I know I can learn so much from just watching him.”
Jacobs also contributed on special teams throughout the years. Jacobs returned 14 kicks during the 2018 season for 428 yards a touchdown, good for an average of 30.6 yards per return.
Jacobs was named the Most Valuable Player of the SEC Championship Game after rushing for 83 yards and two touchdowns on just eight carries. He had a season-long rush of 59 yards during that game, too.
Originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Jacobs started running around in the Crimson Tide’s backfield as just a freshman in 2016. He went on to play in 42 games, totaling 1,491 career rushing yards and 16 scores on 251 carries.