Before he was regarded as a pariah to Alabama fans, Gene Jelks was an exciting running back prospect. And his coming out party was also his first collegiate start, against rival LSU in 1985.
The speedster from Gadsen, AL, had a hand in both of the Crimson Tide’s touchdowns in a contest that ended in a 14–14 tie. He scored the game’s opening touchdown on a 33-yard scamper down the sideline (below), and with 1:23 left and the Tide trailing 14–7, he hit QB Mike Shula on a flea-flicker pass from two yards out to knot the score.
Later in the season, Jelks would score on a long touchdown run in the 1985 Iron Bowl against Auburn. But for all the good he did on the field, in the eyes of Alabama fans he did irreparable damage off of it.
In November 1992, Jelks told a newspaper that he received a “signing bonus” upon committing to Alabama in 1985 and received money from coaches and boosters during his playing career. Starting in 1995, the program was put on three years’ probation following the Jelks probe and other investigations.
‘Bama is back in Baton Rouge this Saturday as the nation’s top-ranked team to face No. 5 LSU. Gene Jelks profile