QB John Jacobs

 
 
 

Tracking the Stars of the Future

Football Recruiting Report
Tuesday, May 20, 2014

By Sammy Batten


New "Air Raid" pilot in the wings

Shawnee (OK) QB John Jacobs fits the dual-threat mold sought by Lincoln Riley for his Mike Leach-inspired offense

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By Sammy Batten
2014 Bonesville.net
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Arguably, quarterback is the most important position on any college football team. There can be little debate that it's been true at East Carolina since Ruffin McNeill arrived as head coach and Lincoln Riley as offensive coordinator.

The "Air Raid'' offense Riley learned under Mike Leach at Texas Tech has been the signature ingredient in the Pirates' success and a drawing card for quarterback prospects, especially those with dual-threat capabilities. The vital nature of the position has made signing at least one quarterback in every recruiting class standard procedure for ECU.

The Pirates were in danger of falling short of fulfilling that goal last February after two high school quarterbacks tendered verbal commitments to McNeill and Riley, then backed out to sign with other schools. ECU, however, was able to salvage the situation by picking up Mesa Community College quarterback Blake Kemp after national signing day.

Perhaps in an effort to avoid similar problems with the recruiting Class of 2015, the Pirates quickly targeted John Jacobs from Shawnee High in Oklahoma this spring.

"They (ECU coaches) had seen film on him, and liked him,'' Shawnee coach Billy Brown said. "But the way it's set up now, they want to see a guy throw in person, or in their camp before they extend an offer to them.

"He (Riley) came and watched John throw recently, and offered him on the spot.''

Jacobs accepted the offer late last week to become the third member of ECU's 2015 class. The 6-foot-1, 210-pound left-hander picked the Pirates over scholarship offers from Alabama-Birmingham and Troy, but was receiving interest from dozens of other schools like Arizona, Indiana, Missouri, Minnesota and Oklahoma State.

Brown, who has racked up more than 150 career victories in 17 seasons, turned to Jacobs as a sophomore in 2012 to help rejuvenate a Shawnee team that had struggled to finishes of 3-7 and 1-9 the previous two years. Jacobs, the son of a well-known evangelist of the same name, had moved to Shawnee from Texas near the end of his freshman year and arrived with a video highlight film.

"We watched it and we knew he'd be good enough to play for us,'' Brown said. "We liked that he could run and pass. We could tell he was a player.''

Jacobs helped Shawnee produce a 5-6 record while accumulating 2,500 yards of total offense in an impressive sophomore campaign. But Jacobs really blossomed last season when, despite dealing with a sports hernia much of the year, he passed for 3,550 yards and 28 touchdowns, while rushing for 1,250 yards and 14 scores.

Behind Jacobs' performance, the Wolves advanced to the second round of the state 5-A playoffs and finished with a 9-3 record. Even in the defeat that ended Shawnee's season, Jacobs impressed. In a 23-21 loss to Guthrie, he accounted for 363 of the Wolves' 365 yards of offense.

"He's a legit dual-threat quarterback,'' Brown said. "He's a threat either way. Teams have to prepare for him to pass and run the ball.''

Brown pointed out a play Jacobs made during the second game of the 2013 season as an example of his ability to make good plays out of bad ones.

"We missed a block one guy got through clean on a busted assignment,'' Brown said. "But John made him miss and went 70 yards for a touchdown. The guy was literally unblocked and John beat him with his feet, then outran everybody else on a play that should have been a 12-yard loss.''

Brown gives a lot of credit for Jacobs' development to Joe Dickinson, an Oklahoma native, former college coach and the lead quarterback instructor at DeBartolo Sports University. DeBartolo is a popular organization that conducts quarterback camps and provides private training all over the country. Dickinson, who previously worked with current ECU backup quarterback Cody Keith, has worked with Jacobs for several years.

"It helps us like crazy,'' Brown said. "Our kids can't train year round here on the field with our coaches, so Joe does that with him. Joe knows what to do and how to do it as it applies to John. It's a blessing to have him around here.''

Brown wasn't surprised Jacobs made his college choice so soon before his senior season. Because the Wolves have a shot at winning the state title this season, Jacobs wanted to get his recruitment out of the way.

"We'll probably be (ranked) preseason one or two in the state,'' Brown said. "We have a lot of kids back from last year. He just wanted to get it done. He was comfortable with the decision, so now he can focus on winning a state championship.

"Sometimes when they make a decision this early it opens doors for other schools, or someone who appreciates him, maybe, as much as East Carolina does. He may get some more offers. But I think he'll be pretty loyal to East Carolina. He wanted to make this decision, get it done and focus on high school football.''

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05/20/2014 02:53 AM