A Power Position

In his weekly recruiting column, Dudley E. Dawson catches up with Chipola Junior College power forward Jeremy Jacob (6-8, 230), who updates the latest on his recruiting. This story is sponsored by the Arkansas Toyota Dealers. It's free and so is a special offer to attend a Razorback event. Click on the Arkansas Toyota banner for details.

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Chipola (Fla.) Junior College power forward Jeremy Jacob will get his season underway Saturday night in Poplar Bluff, Mo.

It's still up in the air whether the 6-8, 230-pounder might be a University of Arkansas basketball commit before or after tip-off or if he might end up at Auburn or Oregon.

Or if the former Georgia player – who will have four years to play three at his next stop after being granted a medical hardship by the NCAA - just ends up putting the decision off until the spring.

"I go to bed every night thinking about those schools and thinking about whether it would be better to sign early or late," Jacob said. "Right now I am thinking early."

That early signing period is Nov. 12-19 while the spring one runs from April 15-May 20.

Jacob, who also has an offer from Kentucky but no plans to visit there as of right now, visited Fayetteville back on Sept. 19-21.

"I had a great time on my visit to Arkansas," Jacob said. "I liked everything about the place – the players, the coaches and the way the campus looked.

"The coaches let me know that they could really use a player like me next season and that they think I can make an impact right away," Jacob said. "They have made me feel very wanted."

Jacob, who averaged 5.2 points and 3.3 rebounds in his short stint with the Bulldogs before a stress fracture in his foot, believes he can bring several things to a team.

"Basically I think I will bring a lot of energy to the floor, some scoring from down low and from being able to face up and knock down my shot and great rebounding," Jacob said. "Really I just want to bring whatever my coach needs me to bring to the court to help us win."

Dave Telep, Scout.com's director of national scouting, believes Jacob – who spent a year at Hargrave Military Academy before signing with Georgia and playing just six games because of injury - can be a solid SEC player.

"Jeremy Jacob is a former player of the year in Louisiana, people forget that," Telep said. " He was in our Top 100 a few years ago before the prep year. Love his mid-range game. If his motor turns on and he wants it bad enough he could be a long time starter in the SEC."

Chipola head coach Greg Heiar is complimentary of Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey and his staff.

"I have known Coach Pelphrey for a long time and really respect him," Heiar said. "He helped me with one of my players when I was just getting into coaching and we've stayed in touch. I also am very fond of (UA assistants) Isaac Brown and Tom Ostrom, who are great guys. I know if Jeremy ends up there that those guys will be there for him as a young man and not just as a basketball player."

Jacob took an official visit to Oregon soon after the one to Arkansas.

"The best thing about that visit was their training center," Jacob said of the Nike-funded practice facility. "(Nike chairman) Phil Knight has put a lot of money into that school."

Jacob was asked to handicap the race for his signature.

"I want to say that I am still open and thinking about everything, but I will tell you that Arkansas is at the top with me," Jacob said. "There is a lot to like about that place."

Chipola has participated in 13 scrimmages this preseason in Florida, Dallas, Atlanta and Alabama and has yet to lose any of those contests.

Jacob has been a big part of that per Heiar.

"He's been playing really well for us," Heiar said. "He has really gone strong to the boards, is scoring down low for us and really getting after his guy on defense. He and the other guys are also blending in very well together."

But he also likes the total package on and off the court.

"I think he is just an outstanding young man, a different kind of student-athlete than you see on this level sometime in that he is really conscious as much about his work in the classroom as well as his basketball," Heiar said. "He is performing at a high level in the classroom and on the court. He just does the right things on and off the court."

Chipola returns preseason All-Americans Gary Flowers (6-9, 205) and Casey Mitchell (6-4, 215) - a soft UAB commit - from last season's 35-2 squad and is considered one of the favorites to win the national title this season.

Jacob - one of eight newcomers - will join Flowers, 7-0, 210-pound center and UAB soft commit John Kreft and forward Torye Pelham in a loaded frontcourt rotation.

"I think a lot of people are picking us to win it all and I feel very good about that after going through this scrimmages and seeing how hard we have been playing," Jacob said.

Heiar, whose team went on a school-record 23-game winning streak last season, said that he knows Chipola has a target on its back this season because of the returning talent and expectations.

"I do have a lot of talent to work with, but my greatest challenge is to get all of them to play together, buy into the system and not just play as a bunch of individuals who are all trying to do it all by themselves," Heiar said. "I have to get them to trust each other, to do what is best for the team day in and day out."

Chipola should have a great idea about where it is at after an opening three game-stretch against Mineral Area Friday and Three Rivers Saturday in Poplar Bluff and then a game against No. 1 Indian Hills next Monday in Ottumwa, Iowa.

"We will start the season on the road playing three traditional powerhouses in JUCO basketball," Heiar said. "After the first weekend, playing against Mineral Area, Three Rivers, and Indian Hills, we will definitely know where our team stands against others in the country."

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