Sugar Bowl Loss Fueled T.J. Yeldon’s Preparation For NFL


While his playing days in Tuscaloosa may have come and gone, former Crimson Tide running back T.J. Yeldon’s football career is anything but over.

Yeldon was drafted 36th overall in the second round of the 2015 NFL draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars — the highest drafted running back by the Jaguars since they drafted Fred Taylor with the ninth overall pick back in 1998. Nearly a month and half after that, he signed his first NFL contract, a four-year deal worth $5.9 million.

From the very beginning, people had Yeldon penciled in as the starter, but he sees the situation differently as he told the media at the Rookie Symposium late last month.

"“I’ve got myself as last (on the depth chart), and I’m still trying to work my way to the top. I’m just out there to compete and work my way up to the top, see what I can do. I feel like I can be a three-down back, but I’m just out there trying to do what I do. I’m still learning, so I’m not trying to say I’m a three-down back or anything right now. I’ve done it before at Alabama, but it’s a different league now, so we will see ” – T.J. Yeldon"

A month later, Yeldon’s stance remains the same as he told reporters on Monday upon reporting for training camp that he’s ‘out there competing’ and ‘there’s going to be competition’. As for if he’ll be the starter, “We’ll find out come the season,” Yeldon says.

Wise words for an NFL rookie.

Yeldon also spoke to reporters about the biggest difference between this offseason and others in the past, citing ‘football’ and Alabama’s loss to Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl as the key difference.

"“Ever since I was done with football, since we lost our last game against Ohio State, I’ve just been football, working out and training. Getting ready for the Combine and Pro Day and now, getting ready for training camp. It’s been constantly football every day.” – T.J. Yeldon"

Yeldon told reporters he spent the offseason back home in Daphne, Alabama preparing for his rookie season in the National Football League. Yeldon added that he did spend ‘a couple of days’ working out in Tuscaloosa at The Capstone but was just at home for the most part.

When asked about the biggest adjustment he’ll have to make, Yeldon’s answer was simple, “Getting used to the speed of the game,” he said. “It’s going to be different. You have a lot more free time now, so you just have to find things that you like to do,” he continued.

As for his favorite things to do? Play basketball, watch Netflix and play video games.

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