We are three weeks away from the kickoff of college football and fans are excited to see some of the best players the sport has to offer. Offensively, there are plenty of names to look out for that have the potential to dominate the college football season, and when it comes to running backs all eyes are on Texas’ Bijan Robinson. For most NFL and college football fans, he is the No. 1 running back in the country. But after completing my regional summer scouting, I believe that there is a quiet contender that no one is talking about: Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs.
Gibbs has the skill set, athleticism, and most importantly, the surrounding pieces to become a contender for RB1 in the 2023 NFL Draft. Gibbs is a junior transfer running back from Georgia Tech who was the best player on the team since he took his first snap. Although Gibbs originally attended Georgia Tech, he is not your typical Yellow Jackets running back.
Out of high school, Gibbs was rated as a five-star prospect by recruiting sites. He had offers from some of the biggest programs in the country like LSU, Ohio State, Texas, and coincidentally enough, Alabama. Gibbs decided to attend Georgia Tech because of its proximity to home and his relationship with then-Yellow Jackets running back coach Tashard Choice. During Gibbs’ time at Georgia Tech, he showcased his big-play ability as both a receiver and running back, but a lot of his opportunities were muzzled due to the lack of talent around him to give him a real opportunity for success.
Gibbs is an electric running back that is a threat to break out for a big play at any moment in the game. And although he is an elusive running back naturally, he also has the ability to lower his pads and run through arm tackles. As a receiver, he provides mismatch opportunities with linebackers and some safeties and can run effective routes both out of the backfield and aligned as a receiver. Gibbs shows that he has the skill set to be a running back on first and second down but also convert to being a pass-catcher on third downs, making him a dangerous matchup player for the Crimson Tide offense.
Alabama lost their starting running back and both starting wide receivers to the NFL draft this past year, so they need guys to step up. Gibbs will be one of the guys this coaching staff relies on early to fill this role because of his playing experience and his versatility as a player. I predict that Gibbs will win the starting running back role during training camp, but look for him to be more than a running back in the Crimson Tide’s offense.
Gibbs’ versatility will allow Alabama to align him at receiver and use him in different ways to get the ball in his hands. I envision Gibbs being utilized in this offense in a similar way to how the Green Bay Packers utilize Aaron Jones.
For the first time in his college career, Gibbs will be in a situation where the chance for success appears to be more in his favor. Expect Gibbs to have a big year, showcasing that he is a complete running back. Being placed in a situation at Alabama with a Heisman-winning quarterback and a much better offensive line unit should give Gibbs the opportunity to prove that he should not only be in consideration to be a first-round pick, but that he’s a dark horse contender for the Heisman.
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