Jacobs returns from injury-plagued 2017 season


CW/ Hannah Saad

Cody Estremera, Sports Desk Editor

Louisville started to gain momentum midway through the third quarter after Jawon Pass found tight end Kemari Averett in the back of the Alabama end zone. After an unsportsmanlike conduct call, Louisville was forced to kick off from its own 25-yard line.

This is what happened next.

“Kickoff because of the penalty will be deep, and Josh Jacobs with a running start fields it. Jacob’s big momentum bouncing off people. He’s in the secondary with a convoy, escapes and will take it to the house.”

That was ESPN’s Chris Fowler’s call when Alabama running back Josh Jacobs found the end zone on a 77-yard kickoff return.

After being hurt for most of Alabama’s national championship season, Jacobs is finally healthy.

“This was probably the first game I just felt great after the game,” Jacobs said. “So, I say I feel good. I don’t see no bruises or anything. I just feel good.”

Jacobs missed the first two games of the 2017 season with a hamstring strain. He then played the next couple of weeks healthy before breaking his ankle, which he had surgery for in January.

He played through the season with the broken ankle and managed to rush for 284 yards and a touchdown. He also caught 14 passes for 168 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Jacobs is considered the spark that Alabama needed to make a comeback against Mississippi State last year, finishing with an average of six yards a carry in that game.

When he finally had his surgery two days after Alabama defeated Georgia in the national championship, he didn’t have to worry about going through rehab by himself. Offensive tackle Jonah Williams, who left the national championship game with a high ankle sprain and a ruptured deltoid, went through the recovery process alongside the 5-foot-10 running back.

“He and I both got injured around the same time and went through the rehab process together,” Williams said. “So, it was great to see him out there literally hitting the field running, coming out with that kickoff return, a couple of the other big plays he made on offense. He’s just a good guy, a good player and it’s good to see him have success.”

Jacobs finished with 45 yards on the ground off six carries. His longest was an 18-yard dash to the end zone, tying his touchdown total from last year. He also added the 77-yard kickoff return.

“I think that was a moment announcing to myself that I was back. It was good to see like whenever I did something huge how my teammates reacted to it. They’re happy to see me back, too.”

Coming out of high school, Jacobs was a three-star all-purpose back. He is usually overlooked since Alabama has former five-star prospects Damien Harris and Najee Harris and four-star Brian Robinson on roster, but Jacobs doesn’t focus on those rankings anymore.

“I take a part in just being a part of the running back group, honestly,” Jacobs said. “It’s always been a special group here. We have a special group right now, and I’m just trying to play my part.”

While people watching Alabama’s win over Louisville may have been surprised to see Jacobs’ high level of success coming off his injury, people inside the program know how dominant the running back from Tulsa, Oklahoma can be.

“Josh is very explosive,” tight end Irv Smith said. “We’ve all known what he can do. He’s been injured and had a little downplay. I feel like it’s time now for him to show everybody what he’s capable of.”