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How Jaylen Mbakwe’s ‘regular old days’ led to Alabama football

How Jaylen Mbakwe’s ‘regular old days’ led to Alabama football
Clay-Chalkville's Jaylen Mbakwe (9) breaks up a pass intended for Hueytown's DeAndre Coleman (10) on a two-point conversion attempt during the Class 6A football state championship at Protective Stadium in Birmingham, Ala., on Friday, Dec. 3, 2021. Clay-Chalkville defeats Hueytown 46-42. Syndication Jake Crandall/The Montgomery Advertiser
Andrew Florio

PINSON, Ala. (BVM) — In 2021, Clay-Chalkville High School took home the 6A state championship. One of its key leaders was sophomore wide receiver/cornerback hybrid Jaylen Mbakwe.

But that was just the beginning of his rise. 

Jaylen Mbakwe Clay-Chalkville
Jaylen Mbakwe is the No.1 player in the state of Alabama for the 2024 class. (Courtesy: Jaylen Mbakwe)

After recently finishing up his junior season, he is now the No. 9 player in the country for the 2024 class according to 247 Sports

Mbakwe has been in love with the game since he first laid eyes on it.

“I just started picking up a football when I was one or two years old and I just stuck with it,” Mbakwe said.

Years later, he is the best player in the state of Alabama and committed to the in-state Crimson Tide in July.

“Just the coaches and players,” Mbakwe said about what stood out to him about Alabama. “The school is great, the campus and academics as well.

Despite wrapping up his recruiting process halfway through his high school career, Mbakwe enjoyed getting to meet new people from all across the country at different schools.

“You get to have great relationships with coaches,” Mbakwe said. “It was pretty great, but stressful too.”

With his high ranking and status as a football player, he still remains down to earth, living the same lifestyle as he did before he became so coveted on the recruiting trail.

“It’s not hard, I balance it out pretty well,” Mbakwe said. “It’s just a regular old day for me. Just be the same person before the offers started rolling in.”

But Mbakwe’s ‘regular old day’ is much different from the typical high school football player.

When he is working out, he thinks about the opportunity that is in front of him. With every rep, every sprint and every drill, it is an opportunity to give him the best chance at a career in the game of football. And maybe one day, make life-changing money to give back to the ones that have given him so much.

“I’ve got to help my mom and dad. My brothers. My sisters,” Mbakwe said. “I treat working out like I am helping them.”

Mbakwe is already reaping the rewards of his hard work, having the opportunity to attend school in Tuscaloosa for free, where he plans on majoring in nursing.