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Beyond X's & O's with Jalen Tolbert, South Alabama WR


What sports did you play in high school?

  • "I played football, basketball, and baseball."

What is your biggest motivator?

  • "The opportunity for competition, I love competing and being able to go against people that may be better than me and playing at a higher level. I feed off competition, and football has a lot of that – every position, every snap, every play."

What is your day-to-day routine?

  • "I wake up and handle my hygiene business, and then go check in for body weight, have breakfast, go to meetings and then practice. After that I come back and get in the cold tub and do some treatment, and then I take a nap or play MLB The Show 21 for a little while. Then, I’ll go back and watch film with Jake [Bentley] on our opponent for the week or from practice and after that I go home, play the game again, have dinner, lay down and get ready to do it all over again."

What is your pregame warm-up song?

  • "Anything by No Cap – if I had to pick a specific song it would have to be 'Stop Spinning' by No Cap."

Who is your hero?

  • "Definitely my parents, you know they raised me and showed me the things that I should be shown. They showed the ropes and how to grow up. My dad showed me how to be a man so definitely those two are very important in my life."

What is your favorite college football memory?

  • "Either scoring my first touchdown against Georgia Southern two years ago or scoring my touchdown last year against UAB when I caught it over a guy’s head and rocked the baby."

What are you most looking forward to the rest of the season?

  • "Just getting better with the team, and helping to change the culture around here, you know we aren’t really known as a winning program, and we haven’t had a bowl game appearance in a while. This is the first time we’ve been 3-0 so just continuing to grow with this group of guys and coaches and being able to help change things around. Alongside of that, helping myself grow and continuing to grow as a wide receiver and becoming smarter on and off the field."

Who is a QB in the NFL you want to catch a pass from?

  • "Probably Aaron Rogers right now, he is pretty good. Or Josh Allen – I like the way he dumps it to Stefon [Diggs]."

What is one thing about yourself that no one knows about you?

  • "I’m a country boy, I have a farm in the Grand Bay area with horses and stuff."

Where is your favorite place to travel?

  • "I love Florida, I have family in Tampa so I used to go down there a lot before I went to college and got real busy with football. I would go to Disney World and do fun things with my family."

What are your hobbies outside of football?

  • "I just started trying to pick up golf in this offseason, and I actually golfed with Coach Applewhite and Coach Smith, and Jake and another couple receivers go golf. I’ve been trying to pick it up and hit the golf ball straight down the course for once."

Who is the best player you have ever faced?

  • "Carlton Martial from Troy. I played with him in high school, he is probably the best football player I have played with or against."

Is there a player in the NFL that you watch tape on or try to model your game after?

  • "I watch a lot of Davante Adams, Julio Jones and Stefon Diggs. I try to take a different amount of things from those three guys. Davante Adams’s release and route running and how he sells stuff. Stefon Diggs does the same thing and how he moves pre route is something I would like to pick up on. Julio Jones’s physicality and how he attacks the ball. I believe those three guys are three elite receivers right now in the NFL so I definitely watch those guys, I’m definitely a big fan of those three great wide receivers."

Explain your favorite play that is called and why.

  • "My favorite play is honestly a shake route, like a corner route that you stem in on. You know, coach will give the signal for the route, and you stem in on the route and get a good alignment and then you burst in for three to get the cornerback to turn and let you inside and you run up for about five or six steps and you get him thinking your going vertical and break across the field, and then you snap it back to the left or right depending on which side of the field you’re on and then go back out. You know it kind of puts them in a bind and they try to grab and reach and then you can get open and catch the ball and finish."

What do you look for when watching tape on the opposing team?

  • "You definitely watch it a couple times, but the first time you’re watching for their tendencies just from the cornerback and safety rooms particularly because of my position to see if they play outside leverage, if they play on their heels a lot, how physical or lungey they are or if they try to reach for you and grab you at the line of scrimmage. Then after you get a feel for the corners and safeties, you watch the whole team and get a feel for their linebackers and see whether they’re run first or drop first. You have to picture where and how you see yourself making the plays and doing the certain plays and routes against them. Once you’ve done that a couple of times, you kind of know you have this play and on this type of coverage you do this or that so you know which route to run or this is what the route would look like and what play we would call so we just have to get a feel for that. Then later in the week you watch because you know the idea of the plays that you will call. There is definitely a lot that goes in to watching film."

If you could bring one teammate to the NFL with you, who would it be?

  • "Jake Bentley. You know he hasn’t been my teammate for a long time, but he came down here and is a veteran at the quarterback position, and he has taught me a lot just from coming down here in the spring and us just hanging out so much that he has opened my eyes to things that he has seen and I believe if I was fortunate enough to be able to bring somebody with me, that he would be a good person to bring just because he would be able to point out and see things differently that I would see from a quarterback’s standpoint, and that would definitely help me out."

If you are stuck on a deserted island with three teammates, who are they and why?

  • "Davyn Flenord and Cade Sutherland, for sure, those are my roommates, those are my dudes so definitely those two guys, I think it would be a fun experience having them with me. I think the third would probably have to be Jake again because he would be able to think of a way to get us out of there. I think the first night would be kind of scary, but then the second night we would get kind of used to it and have fun with it, but after that we would get tired of it and be ready to get out. With those three guys, we would have a nice variety of opinions and differences."