Despite injuries, McKibbins finishes collegiate football career with records broken

Senior running back Jeremiah McKibbins had to sit out of the 2013 football season due to an ACL injury. Photo from The Panther Archives

Senior running back Jeremiah McKibbins had to sit out of the 2013 football season due to an ACL injury. Photo from The Panther Archives

Every morning Chapman’s senior running back Jeremiah McKibbins wakes up with aches and pains from his past and present football injuries, but gets up with love for the sport and ready to prepare for each football game.

“I grew to love and hate the sport all at the same time,” McKibbins said.

McKibbins started playing football at a very young age because his parents, big football fans, pushed him in that direction.

He has made history on campus, breaking multiple Chapman football records. In 2012, he had the most carries in a season, most average yards per game and in 2015 he had the most yards in a game. Overall, he holds the Chapman records for the most yards in a career, most touchdowns in a career, most 100-yard games, most 200-yards per game and the longest rush in a game.

“He is a threat on the field and the type of player you have to scheme around defensively because he has the ability to score anytime he touches the ball,” said Chapman football alumnus Zane Archer. “He’s definitely one of the best running backs I’ve played with and seen.”

Head coach Bob Owens described McKibbins as the most amazing running back to wear a Chapman jersey.

McKibbins stiff-arms an Occidental player. Photo by Kate DeSalvo, staff photographer.

McKibbins stiff-arms an Occidental College player during a game in 2014. Photo from The Panther Archives

“Jeremiah is a person of deeds, not words,” Owens said. “Even with all of the records he has broken and the great moments he’s achieved on the field, all of us would say that Jeremiah is an even better friend and teammate.”

McKibbins’ dream to be in the National Football League continues to grow, as he gets closer to graduating Chapman University this year.

“I want to take football as long as I can,” he said. “I want to dabble with going to the NFL. It’s a long process – nothing is guaranteed. It’s a business and if they don’t see a future in me, I don’t see them hiring me as an employee.”

He originally played at Toledo University, a Division I university for a semester and when things did not go well for him there, he thought he would not play football in college again. When he transferred to Chapman, he had a tremendous itch to play football again in 2012.

“Going to Chapman was definitely one of the best decisions I have ever made,” McKibbins said. “I would much rather play for somebody like Coach Owens who sees what I can do, who believes in my craft and my work,” McKibbins said. “I put a lot of hard work in what I do and for someone to have faith in me, I give them appreciation.”

Throughout McKibbins’ football career, he has had many injuries, but his worst was tearing his ACL and meniscus.

“Not only did it hurt me physically, but it hurt me mentally,” he said. “I went from a very active mentality to having to take it one day at a time.”

Although he said he occasionally still has knee pain, the injury is no longer holding him back.

“Anything can happen,” he said. “The injury has humbled me a lot because I had to start from the bottom again and work my way to the top.”

McKibbins had a difficult time reflecting on what football has given him.

“It is just one of those feelings that is difficult to explain. It is like someone being in love not even knowing the person that well, but just knowing that they care about the person,” he said. “Football has been a part of me for so long that I don’t really think about why I am doing what I do.”

McKibbins said he is grateful to play for Chapman football and even more thankful for the friendships he has made throughout the years.

“There is something about playing for this team,” McKibbins said. “They are all special guys and seeing them also grow as people is very special.”

Leave a Comment