In the first quarter against Cincinnati, a game Jalyn Armour-Davis could not get his body to do, what his mind wanted it to do. Physically unable to make the sudden moves required of a cornerback, JAD had to exit the game. The Alabama Crimson Tide defense was already down a normal starter at corner with Kool-Aid McKinstry in the place of Josh Jobe. Many Alabama football insiders believe JAD had been the best performing member of the Tide secondary all season long. Losing him in the semi-final appeared to be a problem.
It was not a problem. Former JUCO All-American, Khyree Jackson stepped in and played like a Crimson Tide veteran. Many Alabama fans know Jackson was hotly recruited coming out of East Mississippi Community College (EMCC). Less known is the path Jackson followed from Maryland, as a high school wide receiver, that no FBS or FCS school was interested in signing. One problem was marginal grades. Also, the skinny wideout only played two seasons of high school ball.
In 2017, a long way from Alabama Football
In 2017, he first went to Yuma, AZ, and Arizona Western College. He left before the season began. He gave up on football, not playing in the 2017 and 2018 seasons. Before the 2019 season, Fort Scott Community College in Kansas persuaded him to play football again. After the 2019 season at Fort Scott, Jackson moved to EMCC. Along the way, he decided to focus on being a defensive back. Another major disappointment for Khyree was EMCC having to cancel its 2020 season due to COVID.
After so much time and so many disappointments, Jackson found himself being recruited by Nick Saban, along with coaches from other top programs. Because of Saban, Freddie Roach and Karl Scott, Khyree chose the Crimson Tide.
"The main point was the relationship I built with coach Saban. He was the only coach to tell me the positives and the negatives that he liked about me. That stood out."
If Khyree Jackson does or does not start for the Crimson Tide in the National Championship game, he will be pumped to get on the field in any way he can. He is a fierce special teams player. He is also a confident defensive back. Whatever comes his way next, he has earned it.
"I learned that anything you go through, there is still a beat at some point in time. I thought the whole time, being so down and not getting offers, I thought it would never come. But with me taking the time off, I was really able to see that if you are down, something will come up."
If they knew Khyree’s story, you would think even Alabama Football haters would pull for the young man. Well, a few of them, at least.