Wilbur Jackson: Alabama Football Pioneer

There was an excellent story about Wilbur Jackson in Sunday's Huntsville Times. Jackson was the first African-American football player to sign with Alabama. Even though he signed with the Crimson Tide in 1970, he couldn't play until the 1971 season because the NCAA didn't allow freshman to play back then.

Jackson played on the 1973 national championship team. Though he was recruited as a receiver, Alabama eventually switched to the wishbone offense and Jackson became a running back. Due to the high number of players used in the wishbone scheme, Jackson only had 95 carries that year, but rushed for 752 yards for an impressive average of 7.9 yards per carry (for a point of comparison, Reggie Bush averaged 8.7 yards per carry in 2005.)

In the three years Jackson played (1971-1973) Alabama only lost four games. He went on to play in the NFL for nine seasons and also won a Super Bowl with the Washington Redskins.

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