Ajayi fueled by his past

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - After racking up 1,647 all-purpose yards last season, running back Jay Ajayi is gearing up for another season.

"I feel like I am really prepared coming into this camp," Ajayi said. "I feel strong and my knee feels good. I'm just excited for this season."

But this isn't one of those stories about Ajayi being born with a football in his hands. He grew up in England and soccer was his first sport. He didn't come to the United States until he was about eight years old and soon got involved in the game, by accident.

"They had called me over," Ajayi said. "They asked us to run around a tree and I beat everybody and so they thought 'Let's see what he can do with a football.'"

And with that football, Ajayi took off at his Texas high school, becoming a three-star recruit which led him to Boise State. But during his freshman year, Ajayi got arrested for shoplifting.

"I made a mistake, I messed up," Ajayi said. "There were some consequences. It was a really close decision with Coach Pete. From what he told me, I was almost out of the program."

He was allowed to stay with the team, but had to redshirt. And just a short time later he tore his ACL.

"It really shook up my world and really made me sit back and say 'You've got to smarten up. You have to mature. You have an opportunity that a lot of people don't,'" Ajayi said.

Now back on track, there have been talks already of the redshirt junior possibly leaving for the NFL after this season.

"I haven't really tried to stress myself out about that," Ajayi said. "To be able to do that would be a major step for me and I'm not really too worried about it right now."

Regardless of how ever many seasons Ajayi has left, he's come to enjoy his time in Boise.

"I'm at a great college whose fans are super passionate about their team," he said. "And a great state like Idaho and Boise. I'm living the dream."