Less than a week before National Signing Day, Joshua Jacobs was given the news he had been waiting for. Alabama had offered him a scholarship to play running back for the Crimson Tide.
Even though he played his high school football in Tulsa, Okla., Alabama was Jacobs’ dream school. Having the chance to play for the Crimson Tide came Jan. 29. The next day, he visited Tuscaloosa and his recruitment was basically over at that point.
The 5-foot-10, 200-pounder was a late bloomer in the recruitment world. Jacobs only had nine offers. Five of them came in the final two weeks leading up to signing day (Alabama, Missouri, Oklahoma, Iowa State and Purdue). Before the big schools came calling his offer list consisted of Missouri State, Northern Iowa, New Mexico State and Wyoming.
He doesn’t know why it took so long for schools to discover him though he admits that creating a Twitter account helped him tremendously. Once he created a Twitter profile, several college coaches followed him and contacted him.
In the end, Alabama was the school Jacobs wanted to attend. There was nothing any other school could do to change his mind.
The following is a question-and-answer session conducted with Jacobs in the fourth edition of our Alabama recruiting rewind series.
Q: If you could give a junior only one piece of advice about the recruiting process, what would it be?
Jacobs: You need to start early. It gives you more time to weigh your options and actually think about everything and go visit more colleges, but when your dream school comes calling, you can’t pass that up.
Q: What was it like for you during those final weeks leading up to signing day?
Jacobs: It was nerve-racking. I was excited but it was really overwhelming at the same time. It was just so much. People were calling me at all hours of the night. It was just a lot. I was probably getting like 10 phone calls per day. I was literally on the phone with coaches and would have to tell the next person to hold on a second.
Q: What school came in second? What could they have done a little better?
Jacobs: Mizzou came in second. They did pretty well. Just once I saw Alabama and the campus, met some of the team, it was over after that.
Q: You visited Alabama the weekend before signing day. What about that official visit made Alabama the choice for you?
Jacobs: It felt like everyone there was a family. When I went to Nick Saban’s house, the atmosphere from everybody there was just cool. That drew me toward Alabama.
Q: When you got the offer from Alabama was your recruitment pretty much over at that point or did you need to make that visit?
Jacobs: Knowing that it’s your dream school, you’re already going to be kind of biased. I wanted to take my feelings out of it and think of it more as a business decision and think of it more as a life choice. When I actually visited the campus and met everybody, it was perfect.
Q: You also visited Missouri that weekend but made a last-minute decision to go to Alabama, too. Do you think if you didn’t make that decision to visit Alabama you would have ended up at Missouri or would you have still gone to Alabama without visiting the school?
Jacobs: If I would have stayed the entire time at Missouri, I don’t think I would have made my decision early (on National Signing Day). I would have went beyond that date because of the fact that it would have been too soon to make a decision. I have to see the school.
Other Alabama recruiting rewinds:
- Jared Mayden says some coaches called Nick Saban ‘Nick Satan’
- Quinnen Williams on why he signed with Alabama over his childhood dream school, Auburn
- Nigel Knott explains why he was disappointed with his father’s alma mater
Q: What was the most creative thing a school or coach did to get your attention?
Jacobs: The one thing that caught my eye the most was when I rolled with Coach Saban in his car. He showed me the cars he has. We rode in one of them. It was Saban, me, my dad and uncle. I was sitting in the front. It was crazy. His car is so smooth, but he was flying in it.
Q: How would you describe Nick Saban to people?
Jacobs: Oh man, when I first met him, I thought he was going to be this headstrong type of dude. But he’s really laid back and cool. That really threw me off because it’s crazy — he’s just a regular person.
Q: Which school disappointed you the most during recruiting?
Jacobs: It has to be TCU. The dude was pressuring me saying if I didn’t make a decision right then and there that they weren’t going to take me, basically. Then he was like ‘what position do you want to play?’ I told him that I would play anything on offense. Then he was telling me how they wanted to move me to DB. I told him that I didn’t think I was too comfortable with that on the college level. He got mad at me for that answer. He then said ‘we can find another kid. It doesn’t matter.’ I was just saying to myself ‘dang, this is crazy.’ He was just acting like I didn’t have any other offers.
Q: Which college would you have considered more seriously if they had offered you earlier in the process?
Jacobs: It would probably be Oklahoma. I’m an Oklahoma kid. Everybody knows about them here. I watch their games. I’ve been there before but a lot changed since I visited. A lot of kids I know are going there, too.
Q: How much negative recruiting was out there?
Jacobs: Missouri did a little bit of that when they found out that I was going to Alabama. They didn’t come out and just say ‘don’t go here,’ but they were trying to show me the pros and cons of each school. Oklahoma did the same thing, too. They were telling me that ‘you won’t be the head of the team and stuff like that.’ I was just like ‘man, you’re doubting me this much? That’s crazy.’
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
Chris Kirschner covers Alabama football recruiting for SECCountry.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play in Bryant-Denny.