Joe Gaiter: What does football mean to you?
Jalen Pugh: Football means a lot to me and has ended up being a big part of my life ever since I was younger.
Joe Gaiter: Where did you grow up and how was your childhood?
Jalen Pugh: Due to my pops being in the military, I was born in Virginia but I was mostly raised in Mobile/Grove Hill Alabama. My dad was gone for most of my years growing up. My little sister and I were with my Mama most of the time. My mama taught us a lot about growing up and the responsibilities you have to have to be successful in this thing we called life.
Joe Gaiter: Who inspired you to start playing sports?
Jalen Pugh: My pops put me in football when I was eight years old. I didn’t take it serious until I was about ten years old. I’d say I inspired myself to play and continue football this long.
Joe Gaiter: What are your fondest memories about playing at Saraland High School?
Jalen Pugh: My favorite memory about playing ball at Saraland High School was the summer going into my senior year. My classmates and I would go to practice, then go to lunch and come back and get more work in. We had a different swagger and mindset going into our senior year and once we finally got into the regular season. We showed all of our opponents how much we wanted it. We ended up going to the state championship and losing the game but wouldn’t want to do it with anyone else.
Joe Gaiter: Tell us about your recruitment experience and why you chose Huntingdon College?
Jalen Pugh: My recruiting experience was very much frustrating. I was getting looked at by two D-1 programs and they both lost the coaches that were recruiting me. I ended up gaining a lot of attention from multiple D-3 Colleges around the country. I finished with almost 20 offers and just under a million dollars’ worth of scholarships. I chose Huntingdon because it was close to home for my family to see me play in person. The environment gave me a different feeling from any other college that I’ve visited recently.
Joe Gaiter: Tell us about your 2019 8-4 season.
Jalen Pugh: My freshman year of football went great. We had our ups and downs just like any other team. But we kept coming to practice every day with a chip on our solider ready for the next task to face. We ended up winning a conference championship which was a major blessing.
Joe Gaiter: What was your contribution to the team?
Jalen Pugh: I contributed to the team my freshman year by helping our offense having a new threat and helping our defense in practice to get ready for the next opponent.
Joe Gaiter: What is game day like at Huntingdon College?
Jalen Pugh: Game day at Huntingdon College isn’t like any other D3 school on game days. We have a phenomenal home crowd filled with an amazing group of alumnus taking their time to watch us play.
Joe Gaiter: What makes you an unstoppable Running Back?
Jalen Pugh: I like that I’m low to the ground, makes defenders work extra harder to break down with me. I love being versatile, having different skills and abilities that defenders won’t expect to look for such as get away speed, catching the ball and blocking .
Joe Gaiter: What is your relationship like with Head Coach Mike Turk and the coaching staff?
Jalen Pugh: Coming into school me and Coach Turk had a great relationship and he always told me to stay ready and keep working hard. My running back Coach (Coach Mann) always makes sure I was good during the week and on game days to keep me ready. He always reminded me I could jump in at any moment.
Joe Gaiter: Monday, you found out your season has been postponed. How is this new affecting you and your teammates?
Jalen Pugh: The pandemic hasn’t stopped me too much other than being with the team. I’ve been working ever since the day we was told to come back home. I stay ready so I won’t have to get ready. Hearing that our season is being postponed most definitely puts some adversity in your mind but as long as you stay working and stay close to God you won’t have much to worry about.
Joe Gaiter: What is your major and how do you plan on using it?
Jalen Pugh: My major is sports management. I plan to get my degree and be a high school and college football and track coach. Also, someday own a training facility for athletes to come workout at.
Joe Gaiter: What is life like for you outside of football?
Jalen Pugh: Life outside of football is just me watching movies and learning more and more about black history, or trying to whoop someone on Madden and 2k lol.
Joe Gaiter: What is your untold story?
Jalen Pugh: I’ve been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes for the past Nine years. I was told I probably wouldn’t be able to play football again for the sake of my body but I pushed through every obstacle that tried to bring me down with the faith of God.
Joe Gaiter: What is your motivation on the field?
Jalen Pugh: My motivation comes from myself and of course my family. I’m very self-motivated when it comes to football.