HATTIESBURG, MS - "I got the ball, I made them go the other way, I hit it up in there and I was just able to burst out of there," said Raiders running back Jalen Richard as he described his 75-yard touchdown run against the Saints. "Then from there, once I got out of there it was just like everything was quiet. I was just looking up at the jumbotron like please don't get caught. And I look at it now, that's a day I'll never forget."
Although, Richard would forget to keep the ball he carried 75 yards to the end zone in his NFL debut. It wasn't the worst result for an undrafted free agent's first career carry.
After the Southern Miss alum wasn't selected in the 2016 NFL Draft, Richard got a call from the Raiders and an opportunity to tryout.
"I had no expectations, they didn't have any expectations of me," Richard said. "Kind of just like that Southern Miss mentality. Our freshman class [at Southern Miss] went 0-12, 1-11 my sophomore year. I could have transferred. I could have been like, 'Man, football isn't for me. Let me start looking for a job.' Being able to go through all those adversities at Southern Miss taught me that at the end of the day to just enjoy the game. Have fun, enjoy the moment and continue to work hard and persevere through anything."
Winning just four games in his first three seasons at USM, Richard has learned how to conquer adversity. With 1,393 all-purpose yards, Richard was named a Pro Bowl alternate as a rookie and is headed to the NFL playoffs with Oakland.
Aside from all the success, Richard is just proud to be represent Southern Miss in the NFL.
"The tradition, the guys coming back and talking to us," Richard said. "Ray Guy, you see your Brett Favre's, you see your Reggie Collier's. That rich Southern Miss history really just grew on me and I became a part of it. And it's a part of me now. And that's what I carry with me now with the Raiders organization."