Jake Christensen of Lockport, Illinois is not just your average, highly rated quarterback prospect.
He brings with him a lifetime of training and knowledge at the position that most of his fellow prep stars do not possess.
Jake's father Jeff played in the NFL with the Eagles, Bengals and Browns after a college career at Eastern Illinois.
From a very early age, Jeff knew that his oldest son had the arm to be a quarterback down the road.
"I would say that around the age of five I knew that Jake had an arm that could turn into something special," Jeff said. "Then around the age of seven, Jake got that attitude that a quarterback needs to be a good leader. A few years later, I pretty much felt that if he stayed healthy, he was going to have a chance to be a very, very good quarterback."
Father knows best, as Jake won a state championship for Lockport last year and is one of the best quarterback prospects in the nation. Last week, Christensen chose Iowa over Arkansas and Michigan State, as well as offers from 24 other colleges, including Miami (FL)
The Insiders recently gave Jake a four star rating, which puts him among the top 17 or so signal callers in the nation. Recruiting analyst Tom Lemming has him among his top seven quarterbacks in the nation.
Jake and his father flew out of Chicago on Thursday en route to Las Vegas for the EA Sports Elite 11 tryout, an honor that is bestowed on some of the best high school quarterbacks in the nation.
Though ratings and stars are more for entertainment for the fans in my opinion, there should be no doubt that Christensen is one of the best in the country. Jake is easily the highest rated quarterback prospect that Iowa has landed in the past decade, if not the past two decades or longer.
Jake told us that Iowa began recruiting him in January or February of this year, with Lester Erb being his primary recruiting contact. However, this winter was not the first time that he had taken notice of Iowa.
"Obviously living in Chicago, the Big Ten games are always on TV. Iowa was always in a big game that was on TV, be it against Michigan, USC or others. Watching a team like Iowa, how could you not fall in love with them?" Jake said.
Many of the nation's top players wait until later in the recruiting year before making a decision, but Jake felt like the time was right and that he had found his future home.
"When you go somewhere and you feel at home and 100 percent comfortable, it just has the right feeling. Almost like the first house you live in as a kid…it just feels nice. Iowa had that feeling to me." Jake said.
On the high school level, Jake said that his team runs a three wide, one tight end and one back formation for the most part, as well as going five wide in some instances.
"We throw it about 40 times a game and run it 15 times a game. I know that Iowa likes to run the ball to set up their passing game, but really, however we are going to win is fine with me."
Jeff coached Jake from his earliest playing days through his early high school years, but then backed away. Jake says that his father and his NFL experience has been a big influence on him.
"There is no doubt about that. He has coached me since I first started playing all the way up until I got into high school. Then he decided once I got to the varsity level, it was time to hand the reigns over. But he is still one of my coaches. I go home and we critique my throwing motion, my mental game and breaking down opponents on film." Jake said.
Jeff has clearly spent much of his adult life involved with the game of football, which is what makes the following comments from him all the more pleasing from an Iowa fan's perspective:
"In my 35 years of involvement with the great game on any and every level, I have never come across a situation as good as one Kirk has put together with his staff at Iowa. It has completely restored my faith in football and in what seems to be sometimes, "the lost art of coaching," which is really the teaching of life." Jeff said.
"This is the reason I gave Jake my blessing to commit early and play football for Kirk and his staff. I know with their influence my son will reach his maximum potential as a person and a player... Which is what every father wants for his son."
As for his playing future at Iowa, Jake feels that the sky is the limit for the program that is coming off back to back national number eight rankings, and he feels a run at a national championship is not far off. Plus, he likes the way the current recruiting class is taking shape, and what might be in the offing down the road.
"I think that (National Title contention) is where Iowa is headed. I think with Trey (Stross) and Marcus (Wilson), and hopefully Dan (Doering) and Dace (Richardson) and all of those guys that might be close to committing, if we have a strong recruiting class and a good nucleus, I think that is where all of us expect to be." Jake said.
"With the recruits we have, we are on the right track. If you throw Dan in there it would be huge, and some more lineman that want to play along side him, because he is the best lineman in the country. He and I are pretty good friends, and I think he likes Iowa a lot." Jake said.
But in the event that Doering chooses to attend another school, Jake will respect his friends wishes…to a point.
"If he goes somewhere other than Iowa, I will wish him luck." Jake said. "But if he goes somewhere else, I don't wish him luck when he is playing against the Hawkeyes."