Josh Jacobs: Backseat to Backfield

04/25/2019 Josh Jacobs: Backseat to Backfield

By: Jeff Yoder

Projected: Late 1st Round

When Josh Jacobs’ parents split over a decade ago, his father Marty had to fight for custody of his five children. Except for one.

Josh didn’t care what a courtroom said; he was staying with his father. In the gang-riddled neighborhoods of North Tulsa, neither situation was ideal. Without a job, a home, or enough money for food, the two spent years living out of Marty’s Chevy Suburban and the occasional motel room. Josh slept in the back seat. Marty slept with the driver’s seat reclined, clutching a pistol for protection.

Determined to regain custody of his other children, Marty concealed their lifestyle and never asked for help. It’s only recently that family and friends have learned how bad times were for the Jacobs.

When Marty won custody of the rest of his kids, they spent years living out of backpacks and sleeping on motel floors. They were treated to a complimentary breakfast and hoped their father could provide food after school. Even when he did find dinner for the kids, Josh never saw him eat.

Afraid of causing their father to lose custody again, none of the kids said a word about their situation to coaches, teachers, or friends. Marty eventually found a two-bedroom apartment for the kids, and Josh eventually found football.

In high school, Josh built a physical frame worthy of Division I attention, but a torn hamstring and a broken ankle were terrible for recruiting. He played wildcat quarterback and produced some major highlights toward the end of his senior season. It wasn’t until the 11th hour when Nick Saban and Alabama discovered him, and he went from underrecruited to a program that manufactured NFL running backs.

When he showed up in Tuscaloosa, he slept on his dorm room floor. The school gave him a bed, but he was used to the floor by then.

Josh joined the Crimson Tide as a nobody in recruiting circles, and he split carries with two No. 1 running back recruits in Damien Harris (2015) and Najee Harris (2017) for the last three seasons. He had some unimpressive freshman and sophomore campaigns riddled by injury but stayed healthy for all 15 games this season, and he scored 11 touchdowns. The way he bulldozed tacklers on his way to the endzone caught the attention of NFL scouts. Remember the truck touchdown against Oklahoma?

Josh nearly quit in those first two seasons. He had never played a year of football without injury, but his father always inspired him never to give up.

Tonight, Josh Jacobs will be in the green room sporting a fancy suit and preparing for a paycheck that will change more than one life. He’ll likely be the only running back selected in tonight’s first round, and this father-son storyline will be well-told.

With his three-year-old son Braxton and his father Marty as his driving forces, there’s no doubt Josh Jacobs will run through walls to assure his success in the NFL. A team with running back needs will call his name – “Josh Jacobs, University of Alabama” – and one incredible underdog story will be complete.

From the Suburban backseat to an NFL backfield… Get cozy, Josh. You might be here awhile.