It’s Bo time.
The name itself is synonymous with greatness and recognized world-wide for what one former home grown Alabama resident did throughout his sports career. When Bo Jackson decided to attend Auburn University over his childhood dream school of Alabama, his impact was felt the moment he signed on the dotted line for Coach Pat Dye and the already folk-hero continued his legend status the remainder of his college career.
The Alabama Crimson Tide football team has found what they hope is their own Bo in hometown star Bo Scarbrough. In the real world, the word freak — depending on who you ask — is seen as a form of denigration and ridicule typically based on one’s appearance. In sports, it’s a term of endearment of one’s physical abililites as it pertains to their respected sport.
Scarbrough is a freak — and rightfully classified.
At just the tender age of 18-years-old, Scarbrough already had the physique of a seasoned NFL veteran with the attributes to match. Now, he’s matured even more standing at 6-foot-2 and 240 pounds, Scarbrough’s athleticism is scary, and will be on full display starting this week as he ends his four-game suspension and officially suits up for the Tide.
During the spring, however, Scarbrough injured his knee and was ruled out for at least the first half of this season. However, as fall camp rolled around, reports began to surface that Scarbrough was way ahead of schedule, and could very well find himself in the rotation sooner than expected.
It was announced shortly after these reports that he would be ineligible to participate in the first four games due to a violation of NCAA rules. While uncertainty at the quarterback position has been the main concern for the offense, not having a player of his caliber did not help matters at all.
What Alabama will be getting with Scarbrough’s return is a dynamic playmaker. Scarbrough has the ability to line up anywhere the offensive staff desires and with his skillset, he can flourish whether it’s at running back, wide receiver, or H-back in Lane Kiffin‘s system. Not only does this impact the entire offense, but it directly affects individual players who could use another highly-skilled player to take the pressure off.
Before the season began, myself and others believed running back Kenyan Drake would have a more versatile role within the offense this season. During the media viewing periods in fall camp, Drake was often lined up with the wide receivers getting extra work with those groups. Having Scarbrough in the mix gives Kiffin an extra changeup in his offense to make good use of Drake much like he did against the Florida Gators last year.
Over the years, Saban seems to always rely on at least one impact freshman to provide a spark on the road to a successful season. In 2008, Julio Jones was the go-to guy for John Parker Wilson. In 2009, Trent Richardson provided a one-two punch from the running back spot and effectively spelled Mark Ingram on his way to Alabama’s first Heisman winner and national championship since 1992. Most recently, Amari Cooper was an integral component to Alabama’s success as a freshman in 2012 and caught the game-winning touchdown pass against the Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC Championship game, and Alabama’s last matchup.
Will we see more of the same this Saturday from an impact freshman? Will this be the game Scarbrough begins his own legacy? Nobody knows — or maybe Bo knows…