MOMENCE, Ill. - Wayne Walker knew he inherited a special talent in Jason Bargy.
But when the first-year Momence coach saw his standout sophomore was listed as one of Scout.com's five state of Illinois Class of 2019 prospects to watch, Walker couldn't wait to share the news with Bargy.
"I saw that Scout had posted about him being a top player, so I went in the weight room and told him about it," Walker said. "He said, 'Coach, that's last season. It doesn't matter.' You can't go to him and praise him. He's always wondering what he can get better at, and being that kind of kid, the body type and the work ethic, he's got everything going for him."
Bargy's profile is rising quick after a standout freshman season (13 sacks).
"Last year, they didn't know me at all," said Bargy, who plays defensive end and running back for Momence. "I was just a freshman. Now, it seems like everybody is looking for me. Every year is something new. I learn to keep doing what I want to do and what I need to do better at. Instead of playing at that one level, I want to keep getting better every game and every year."
Bargy has physical ability that just can't be taught. The sophomore, who projects as a college defensive end, is 6-foot-5 and pretty bulked up (215 pounds) for his age.
He also has standout speed. Bargy runs the 100- and 200-meter dash for the track team and helped lead Momence's relay team to the state meet last spring.
"Track helps me with my legs and my stride," Bargy said. "It gets me faster and also helps me with my conditioning too. Plus, I do track because it's another thing to do to keep me out of trouble. I'm a three-sport athlete: football, basketball and track. Football is my No. 1 sport. It always will be."
Football is his future. A scouting service recently visited Momence and the college coaches are soon to follow.
"I get letters and all, offers to come to camps and stuff like that," Bargy said. "I went to Northwestern's camp over the summer. It was good."
Bargy is raw as a defensive end but has a lot of time to grow.
"As a defensive end, there's a lot of just being sophomore, he's got these long arms and he's still growing so he's still growing into his body," Walker said. "He's just got to naturally grow into his balance and things like that. He's gradually getting better in practice."
His coach says Bargy's work ethic and drive (Bargy was Acadmic All-State last year) should help him reach his vast potential.
"He's something special," Walker said. "He's a quiet kid. He's probably his hardest critic. We still get on him and expect things on him, but he already knows (our criticism) before we come over. ...That's a good thing from that kind of kid."
Illini Inquirer watched Bargy during Momence's 56-27 loss at Paxton-Buckley-Loda on Sept. 23, 2016. This is the first time Inquirer has seen him so these are just initial impressions. Also, Bargy was battling an illness during the week, his coach said, which may have affected his play.
Bargy has all the physical tools to be one of the state's top prospects in the Class of 2017. He is a legit 6-foot-5 with long arms and already has some good bulk on him with the frame to add much more strength as he physically matures. As a standout sprinter in track he obviously has good straight-line speed and shows good burst when he turns on the jets.
Bargy just is a very raw football player, especially on the defensive line. He's not yet comfortable with his hand on the ground (he plays standing up most of the time) and needs to learn how to play and stay low. He doesn't yet seem comfortable getting physical. He bounces around the field rather than running, and when the ball is run away from him (which defenses normally do), he doesn't always chase after the play. He doesn't know yet just how good he can be.
Bargy has a long way to go as a football player. But technique, defensive assignments and the such can all be taught. Simply, Bargy has a frame and athletic ability that can't be taught -- and remember, he's just a high school sophomore. He had a flew flashes of brilliance against PBL, including a rush off the edge, where he dipped under a blocker, put on the boosters and hammered the quarterback, resulting in a forced fumble.
Bargy is a legitimate power-five prospect now with potential four-star upside if he better learns how to use his special physical talents. He will start to receive more and more attention once more schools learn of him and get their eyes on him.