silver and black Josh Jacobs
Photo Credit: Terrance Quaites – Franchise Sports Media


Josh Jacobs Used Adversity to Become the Raiders’ Premier Running Back


Josh Jacobs showcased outstanding talent in his rookie season. Jacobs, drafted in the first round from Alabama in 2019, already plays the game at its highest level.


Photo Credit: Raiders

He is entering the upcoming 2020 season with determination to outperform his numbers in 2019 and a brand new Raider logo tattoo on his right arm to seal the deal. The 5’10”, 225lb running back has been putting in work during his offseason, preparing himself for a comeback. Although robbed of offensive rookie of the year honors, Jacobs did not let that discourage his grind. 

The 22-year-old rookie managed to carry the ball 242 times for 1,150 yards. He played in a total of 13 regular-season games and found the endzone 7 times. Jacobs’ value is undeniable for the Raiders’ offense.

Josh experienced adversity and outlived his trials by finding passion in football. He and his family prevailed through many setbacks throughout his childhood. His mother and father separated when he was eight years old. Jacobs chose to live with his father, Marty Jacobs, who had recently moved out of the apartment he was living in.


While anticipating a move to another apartment, things didn’t go as planned.


Marty battled through custody over Josh and his four siblings. While shelter became a challenge, Josh and his father lived with relatives for a short period of time, but when there weren’t any options left, they spent time sleeping in their Suburban in Tulsa, Oklahoma

In the Player’s Tribune, Jacobs spoke about the experience. 

I would shower in the locker rooms after football practice, then my pops would pick me up and drive around to look for a spot on the side of the road to park for the night. Somewhere out of the way. I would lie down in the back seat, and he would be upfront. I remember he had a gun and whenever he laid his seat back at night, he would always keep it on his chest with his hand on it. Just in case. If he ever slept, I didn’t see it. Every time I woke up — whether it was morning or the middle of the night — he was awake. Watching out. Protecting me.” 

Photo Credit: Terrance Quaites Franchise Sports Media

When Marty was awarded custody of his children, he worked hard to keep them clothed and fed. Marty explored several methods to bring comfort to his growing family. After finally receiving the opportunity to settle into a new apartment, Marty lost his job. The family spent two years transitioning between several motels in Tulsa. His father struggled to make ends meet, but he discovered several approaches to educate his children and bring the family closer together. 

For example, Marty taught Jacobs and his siblings how to express their thoughts and emotions through music, art, and sports. Marty eventually settled at a new job and established his family in a new home the summer before entering Josh’s eighth-grade year. Jacobs soon found an escape from the tribulations of homelessness and discovered a real love affair with the game of football. 

That season, Josh was a monster on the field. He recorded 2,704 yards, averaged more than 15 yards per carry, and scored 31 touchdowns. Every time he touched the ball, he made magic happen. Although Jacobs performed with mind-blowing talent, he didn’t catch the attention of any college recruits. Halfway through his senior year, he had not received any scholarships and, despite his impressive stats, colleges just weren’t interested. 

One of Jacobs’ high school coaches, Gerald Smith, wanted to help Josh get the attention he deserved. Smith gave Josh direction on how to promote his talent by posting his highlights on Twitter. Smith had faith in his play and helped him get noticed. 


Eventually, Alabama rewarded Josh with an opportunity to become a member of the Crimson Tide.


From that moment on, Josh had all eyes on him. He quickly made an impression for Nick Saban and college football’s most powerful program. The game that earned him the most notoriety was in his last year of college. It was a performance in the SEC championship against Georgia. Josh experienced flu-like symptoms but chose to play through the pain. 

He spoke about just how grueling the experience was. 

I got one IV before the game, two more during and one after. Every time I came to the sideline, it felt like I was dying of thirst, and I had no wind. So they had the IVs and an oxygen mask right there waiting for me.”

Josh overcame the illness and managed to achieve MVP honors with 83 yards and two touchdowns on just eight carries.

From that moment forward, he knew that the NFL was the best route to take so he declared, feeling very good about his chances of realizing his dream of playing football at the highest level.

Josh Jacobs
Photo Credit: Terrance Quaites – Franchise Sports Media

Mayock and Gruden noticed Josh’s explosive play on the field. They believed that he would bring production to their offense right away as a rookie. Jacobs proved them right and became accustomed to the NFL very quickly. He educated himself on the playbook immediately and used his speed and brutal running style — a combination of high intelligence and physicality — to become the Raiders featured back. He was rated the top NFL rookie after just four weeks. 

Josh Jacobs broke almost every rookie running record. He had an outstanding game against the Green Bay Packers in 2019 running for 124 yards on 21 carries. That was his second consecutive 100 yard-game. He ended the season with four 100-plus yard games. He even outperformed Raiders legend, Marcus Allen, securing the record for the most 100-yard games during his rookie season. He is also the first Raider to score more than five rushing touchdowns in his first eight games. 


Josh Jacobs is a physical and dynamic player who will get down and dirty on the turf. He’s also loyal to his family and never forgot how hard his father struggled to put a roof over his and his siblings’ heads. So he returned the favor. To honor his father’s lifetime of support, he bought him a house in January 2020.

Josh Jacobs   Josh Jacobs   Josh Jacobs   Josh Jacobs   Josh Jacobs   Josh Jacobs   Josh Jacobs   Josh Jacobs   Josh Jacobs

-Nyshon Zaragoza – Franchise Sports Media


Follow The Franchise on social media