For Black History Month, we celebrate Josh Jacobs

Josh Jacobs is no stranger to hard work.

The 21-year-old running back for the Oakland Raiders had spent the majority of his life fighting to escape poverty, which is why he deserves a tribute during Black History Month.

Jacobs was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma to Marty and Lachelle Jacobs. 

When he was eight, his parents divorced and his father received custody of Josh and his four siblings.

His father, Marty struggled financially and at times had to work as many as three jobs at a time just to get food for his kids.

Most of the time, Josh and his family were without any place to call home, living out of hotel rooms and their family SUV.

Seeking the space and the peace he didn’t have at home, Jacobs found it on the football field.

He would play at McLain High School in north Tulsa and his drive to succeed made him the best football prospect to come through McLain in fifteen years.

“He had the whole package,” said local sportswriter Barry Lewis, “great stats, excellent speed, it was really dumbfounding that he wasn’t receiving more recruiting attention.”

Since McLain wasn’t a perennial football powerhouse in Oklahoma, Jacobs was overlooked by most colleges.

“I was always under the radar,” said Jacobs in an ESPN interview, “I mean, I led the state in rushing and you didn’t even see me on any (recruiting) papers”.

Despite averaging 15 yards per carry, running for 2700 yards and scoring 31 touchdowns, Jacobs didn’t have a single FBS scholarship offer through December of his senior year.

Then, at the suggestion of a local sports recruiter, he joined Twitter and posted his highlight video and stats totals.

By National Signing Day, Jacobs had received several FBS offers including Oklahoma and Missouri but ultimately decided to commit to the University of Alabama.

At Alabama, he excelled under the coaching of Nick Saban and by the time he was a junior, he had become the top running back in the upcoming NFL draft

Jacobs was drafted with the 24th pick in the 2019 NFL draft to the Las Vegas Raiders and in his rookie year, he won the 2019 Offensive Rookie of the Year award.

During Super Bowl LIV, Kia aired a commercial that showed Jacobs having a conversation with his younger self, where he tells him to “believe in yourself, and be tougher than the world around you”.

Josh Jacobs has proven that with drive, hard work and unfailing determination, anyone can defy the odds and do something incredible.