Alabama landed a big commitment on Tuesday from ex-Georgia Tech running back Jahmyr Gibbs, one of the top-ranked players in the transfer portal. Gibbs, who announced his decision with a video on Twitter, rushed for 1,206 yards and eight touchdowns in two seasons with the Yellow Jackets. Gibbs transferring in is a huge pickup for coach Nick Saban, considering the upcoming departure of senior Brian Robinson Jr., who has 1,071 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns for the 2021 SEC champions.
Gibbs was the top-ranked player in Georgia Tech’s 2020 recruiting class. The four-star prospect from Dalton (Georgia) High School was ranked No. 76 overall in the 247Sports Composite rankings, and was the eighth-best running back in the country — one spot ahead of current Alabama running back Roydell Williams.
Let’s break down what Gibbs’ commitment means for the Crimson Tide.
Help at a critical position
Alabama is accustomed to having a stable of capable running backs, but that hasn’t been the case this season. Robinson has been banged up down the stretch, while Williams and Jase McClellan each suffered knee injuries during the season that forced them out of action.
Gibbs won’t help Alabama as it prepares for the Orange Bowl national semifinal showdown vs. Cincinnati, but it’s clear that Saban recognized that what happened to his running back room this season can’t happen again. The Crimson Tide struggled mightily to run the football in several games this season, including narrow victories over Florida, LSU and Auburn, and the addition of another star running back next year will allow Saban to use multiple backs in a variety of ways in order to keep everybody fresh.
Gibbs is a true multi-dimensional weapon who has the ability to thrive in a multitude of roles in Tuscaloosa. In addition to his work as a running back, Gibbs had 768 yards and five receiving touchdowns in two seasons on The Flats, and added 794 yards and another score as a kickoff returner. Even if Gibbs isn’t used as a primary running back, expect offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien to get him involved in a variety of ways. Basically, he will be Alabama’s version of a Swiss Army Knife.
Alabama is using a farm system
Saban admitted last offseason that the “free agency” aspect the transfer portal brings is a cause for concern, but he would use it to the best of his ability. He wasn’t lying. Wide receiver Jameson Williams was a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award one year after transferring from Ohio State and linebacker Henry To’o To’o was a second-team All-SEC performer after leaving Tennessee. Ex-LSU defensive back Eli Ricks already chose to move over from Baton Rouge to Tuscaloosa earlier this week, and now Gibbs is making the trek west to play for Saban. Saban has lived up to his word and has essentially turned the 129 other FBS teams into minor league affiliates of the Crimson Tide.