No. 1 Ranked Juco Says He Will Be A Tiger

Auburn has picked up its sixth public verbal football commitment and first from the junior college ranks from a nationally recruited player.

Coffeyville, Kan.--Very big and very fast tailback Brandon Jacobs tells Inside the Auburn Tigers that he will play his college football at Auburn University.

Ranked as the nation's top junior college prospect regardless of position, the 6-4 1/2, 257-pound tailback with 4.49 speed in the 40-yard dash says that he plans to enroll for classes at Auburn in January. He is scheduled to be an early graduate in December at Coffeyville Junior College where he is having a season as big as his impressive body.

After rushing for 303 yards on 46 carries last week, he is at the 1,023 mark for the season on 145 carries despite being slowed earlier in the year with an ankle bruise. He is full speed ahead and opponents beware.

"He is good, real good," says Coffeyville assistant coach Sean Jericho. "He is a player who has a legitimate shot to play the game on Sundays. His running style is upright like Eric Dickerson and his power reminds you of Earl Campbell. Brandon will just flat wear you out."

Tailback Brandon Jacobs is shown as a high school senior.

Jacobs is currently the third leading rusher in the juco ranks, but is listed as the No. 1 prospect in the nation by JCFootball.com.

"Although I got 300 yards last week, I would say my best game was the previous one when I had 228 yards in the first half," Jacobs said. He sat out the third and fourth periods in that contest vs. Ft. Scott.

Jacobs, who originally signed with Auburn as a senior at Assumption, La., High School in Napleonville, La., did not qualify academically to play Division I ball as a freshman, but says that Auburn steered him to a great all-around program at Coffeyville and that has been a big help. He is currently in great shape academically with a 3.35 grade point average.

"Coming to Coffeyville has been good for me," Jacobs says. "I am doing well with my class work and I have improved as a football player."

He picked the Tigers over Nebraska, LSU, Washington and others. He says he felt loyalty to Auburn, which signed him out of high school, plus he likes the Tigers' coaches. He also remembers that he enjoyed how the fans got into games on his official visit to Auburn two falls ago when the Tigers played Arkansas. He plans to take an official visit to AU when the Tigers entertain the Georgia Bulldogs in November. "I am really excited about playing at Auburn," Jacobs said. "I will be ready to get started there in January."

He weighs 14 pounds more than when he signed with the Tigers out of Assumption High in Napleonville, La. His high school coach, Don Torres, said it took a while for him to figure out that it would be a good idea to have such a huge tailback. When they put him at the position as a senior, he responded with a monster year. He rushed for 3,032 yards and 35 touchdowns to be named Class 4A Player of the Year for Louisiana.

Torres admitted it did take some adjusting to become comfortable using such an oversized tailback running out of the I formation in high school.

"To show you how smart we are, we had him at fullback the first three games of his junior year and in our offense the fullback is basically just a blocker," Torres said.. "Well, even though we had a pretty good team we lost the first three games and decided we had to try something different so we moved Brandon to tailback. He was so good there it made us feet stupid that we hadn't done it to start the season."

Torres and his assistants at Assumption almost didn't have a chance to play Jacobs at any position. There was no doubt that that he had plenty of potential. In fact, he was so good as a ninth grader that he was moved up to the varsity late in the season even though the youngster wasn't sure that was such a good idea. Torres remembers that Jacobs took a pounding playing against guys two and three years older and because of that decided that maybe this football stuff wasn't such a good idea.

"Brandon decided to play basketball only as a sophomore and I was afraid we had lost him as a football player," Torres said. "Then, in the spring of his sophomore year, he came by and talked to me and said he wanted to give football another try. He came out and did a good job and the next fall he opened the season as our starting fullback.

"After we moved Brandon to tailback in the fourth game, we didn't lose again in the regular season," Torres noted. "He did a great job for us. He finished the season with 1,883 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns. If he hadn't gotten hurt in the first round of the state playoffs, I think we would have had a chance to do some real damage because we had a more talented team overall in 1999 than we did (in 1998) even though our record wasn't as good.

"On his first carry in the state playoffs, we gave him the ball and he made a great run, 80 yards for a touchdown. The next time we had the ball we gave it too him again and he suffered a severely sprained ankle and couldn't come back into the game. His touchdown run was our only score and we lost 13-7 to a team I am sure we could have beaten if Brandon hadn't gotten hurt."

Healthy throughout his senior year, Jacobs put up huge numbers. He rushed for 3,022 yards and 38 touchdowns to earn Class 4A Player of the Year honors. Assumption won all 10 of its regular season games and then took its first three state playoff games before falling to John Curtis in the semi-finals. "John Curtis had a very strong team and they did a great job against him, holding him to his season low of 148 yards rushing," Torres said.

Jacobs, who averaged a double-double in basketball for one of the state's top teams, turned his attention to hoops after the football season, but did play one more high school football game. He rushed for 233 yards on 26 carries in a local all-star game.

"I would say my strength as a running back is my speed and I can break tackles," said Jacobs, who rushed for 927 yards and 13 touchdowns his freshman season at Coffeyville.

Explaining Jacobs' style, Torres said that the big back is an imposing force. "Once he gets to the linebackers it is usually over with for the defense," Torres said. "When they see him coming, a lot of defensive backs are not very interested in trying to knock him down and the ones who did try to chase him couldn't catch him once he got that long stride of his going."

Tiger Ticket Extra: The big running back was recruited by colleges from coast to coast as a high school senior. Cherico said he was just as much in demand at Coffeyville. "He is the No. 1 prospect in the country, regardless of position," Cherico said. Greg Knox, who recruits Louisiana for Auburn, originally signed Jacobs out of high school and helped the Tigers convince him to stay with that commitment over LSU and many others...In figuring his 40-yard dash time at Butler, Cherico says that Jacobs impressed the coaches with his 4.49 time, which was the average of three different clockings for the big tailback...Auburn's other public verbal commitments are from noseguard Josh Thompson from Statesboro, Ga., High, defensive end Lloyd Blevins from Wenonah High in Birmingham, defensive end Viciente DeLoach from Columbus, Miss., High, running back Jason Jude from Athens High and running back Carl Stewart from Maryville, Tenn., High.


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