It didn’t take long for Jacksonville’s T.J. Yeldon to leave his mark at the pro football level. During his 2015-16 rookie season, the running back gained over 1,000 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns in only 12 games. He credits his three years at the University of Alabama for helping him get off to such a great start.
“Playing under Coach Saban was great,” Yeldon explained. “Part of the reason I went to Alabama was his NFL experience. He knows what players need to do to prepare for that level and he really helped me get a lot better.”
But it took more than a legendary coach to get the 22-year-old this far. He needed his family too.
“My parents have supported me from the very beginning,” he said. “When I was growing up, I was mainly playing baseball, but my dad encouraged me to try out for football. Whether it was choosing what college to go to or deciding to go pro, they’ve always been there for me and have been to every one of my games.”
This solid support system has helped him overcome his latest hurdle: a sprained MCL injury he suffered during Week 14 of last season.
“It’s definitely gotten a lot better,” Yeldon assured us. “With the right advice and rehabilitation, I feel like I’m almost 100%.”
And when he steps back onto the gridiron, he will be wearing the brand he trusts: Under Armour.
“I first started wearing UA when I was training for the Combine,” he said. “I just felt like their gear was much more comfortable than the stuff I was used to, so I said ‘Alright, I’m going with them from now on.’”
His cleat of choice, the UA Spotlight, is a favorite among skill-position players.
“They are just so light,” Yeldon added. “They make you feel so fast, and I can actually make my cuts quicker in them. So it’s an easy decision.”
So AFC South opponents beware — the young Jaguar is hungry, healthy, and prepared for an even bigger year two.
“We came really close to winning the division last year,” he said. “But we’ve got such a young and improving team that I feel like we’ve got a great chance this time around.”