Big game in Fayetteville this week as Arkansas hosts No. 1 Alabama. And for the family of Josh Jacobs, it’s time to pack the car and head east to watch the McLain Titan now college star rising faster than even they expected in his freshman season.
"It's still surreal to us because we're taking it all in,” said Josh’s dad Marty Jacobs. “I had anticipated him doing special teams, but I never anticipated him starting as a back."
Marty says Saban is a great father figure for Josh.
"I didn't know it would be so fast,” said McLain head football coach Jarvis Payne. “But just knowing Josh like I know Josh, I know he's going to do his very best. He just gets it. He's going to work hard in the classroom and work hard on the field."
Even the biggest supporters of the McLain alum are surprised at his rapid rise at one of college football's national powers.
The Crimson Tide running back went from preparing for a game against Vinita last year with no offers to a Power 5 Conference school to preparing to start for Alabama against Arkansas this week.
It started with a two touchdown game against Kent State and then 154 yards and SEC newcomer of the week honors after a game against Kentucky.
"At times as a father, I just, I see all this and I'm just, I'm still praying like, ‘Okay God, cover him,’ but he's doing well,” said Marty. “We all knew he had the potential, it's just seeing him. That's an open door that a lot of people don't get and door open and Josh took advantage, and the character he had here, he carried it on there."
With his son getting more attention so too has the community.
Marty says he's had to field more than the normal amount of ticket interest, especially this week with his son playing two hours east of home.
"Right now, that I know of, off hand my main family, his brothers, his uncle and there's a bunch of other people,” said Marty. “But I know who's leaving when I'm leaving; I'm trying to get down there early."
For now, his father remains focused on Josh's grades, which so far he's maintained all A's and one B, and his coach hopes Jacobs will give back.
"When you get to that level and we have a kid who has your caliber of work ethic and talent, you have to come through and succeed and come back and give back to your school," said Payne.