NFL career the next step for Dalton’s versatile Jahmyr Gibbs

Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs (1) runs the ball against Vanderbilt at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, AL on Saturday, Sep 24, 2022.

Jahmyr Gibbs was a smashing success at one high school and at two colleges.

Now it's time to see what his professional future holds.

The 5-foot-11, 200-pound former Dalton High standout announced Monday at a University of Alabama news conference that he would be forgoing his senior season with the Crimson Tide to enter the NFL draft. Gibbs was among three Alabama juniors announcing their decision to leave Tuscaloosa, joining quarterback Bryce Young and outside linebacker Will Anderson.

Young became the first Alabama quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy following the 2021 regular season, and Anderson is only the second two-time recipient of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy in the 30-year history of that award.

"I'm very proud of the way these guys have represented the program, not only in the way they played on the field but in their character as people," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "Both Will and Bryce have graduated, and Jahmyr is on track. These guys showed tremendous leadership and character in making their decisions to play in the Sugar Bowl.

"I think that impacted the entire team with the example they set."

Alabama demolished Kansas State 45-20 in Saturday's Sugar Bowl to complete an 11-2 season, the Crimson Tide's record 12th consecutive year with at least 11 victories.

Young finished his career having completed 624 of 949 passes (65.8%) for 8,356 yards with 80 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, while Anderson compiled 204 tackles, 58.5 tackles for loss and 34.5 sacks. The two were freshmen when Alabama won its sixth national championship of the Saban era, and they will leave with two SEC titles as well.

Gibbs was the nation's No. 76 prospect on the composite rankings in the 2020 signing class and began his career at Georgia Tech before transferring to Alabama after two seasons.

"Obviously we wanted to win the national championship, but we fell short of that," Gibbs said. "I thought I had a pretty good year, but I just wanted to help the team win as much as we could. I just wanted to be a great asset.

"Anything they wanted me to do, I would do it."

The Crimson Tide's two losses to Tennessee and LSU occurred on the final play, and Alabama led each of those games with under five minutes remaining.

Gibbs amassed 926 yards on 151 carries, averaging 6.1 yards per rush and collecting seven touchdowns. His chances at a 1,000-yard season were hampered by an ankle injury Nov. 12 at Ole Miss, which sidelined him for the second half of that contest and for the following week against Austin Peay.

His most impressive stretch transpired in the heart of the regular season against Arkansas, Texas A&M and Tennessee, when he rushed 63 times in those three games for 463 yards and five scores.

"I think it meant a lot to NFL teams to show that I can withstand 22 carries a game," Gibbs said.

Gibbs was known for his versatility at Dalton and Georgia Tech, and that didn't change at Alabama. He had a team-high 44 receptions that yielded 444 yards (10.9 per catch) and three touchdowns, and his 12 kickoff returns averaged 21.8 yards.

In his second season at Georgia Tech, Gibbs had 23 kickoff returns.

"I expected that," Gibbs said. "I didn't think they would kick it to me a lot."

Gibbs recently was named by USA Today as its second-team All-American all-purpose back, with the Associated Press tabbing him a third-team selection.

When asked what NFL draft grade he received and where he thought he might get selected in April, Gibbs said between 20th and 35th overall. A CBS mock draft released Monday projected Young first overall to the Houston Texans, Anderson third to the Seattle Seahawks and Gibbs as the 32nd and final first-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles.

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