What does one of the best prep quarterbacks in America do for his birthday?
He travels to Iowa City to watch the Hawkeyes practice, of course.
Hawkeye commit and birthday boy Jake Christensen traveled to Iowa City with his family on Sunday, along with several thousand Hawkeye fans to take in Iowa's first open practice of the 2004 season.
"It was nice to get to see practice and get more personal time with the players. It was sort of a junior day for Iowa, and it was a good time to relax and catch up with the coaches a little bit." Christensen said.
It was also a time for the 6-foot-1, 205-pound quarterback to get to know some of his future teammates better.
He took full advantage of that, sitting in on some meetings as well as getting down on the field close to the action…and as close to being in the huddle as is permissible.
"It was fun to get up close to everyone and watch them go through the paces. Going to some of the meetings and learning some of the plays was pretty neat. It was cool to hear them call a play and know where the ball is going, because I remember from the meetings I was in." Christensen said.
Jake's mother was able to come to Iowa City today and get a good look at where her son will be attending college, and Jake's father Jeff, a former NFL quarterback with Cleveland, Philadelphia and Cincinnati also joined Jake on the trip.
Having started practice for Lockport, defending state champions in Illinois, last week, we asked if it was odd leaving that environment and traveling to the place he will call home starting next summer?
"It was kind of weird, because you get in the mindset of ‘I am going to be coming here pretty soon.' But then I have to go back home and realize that I am not on the Iowa team right now, and I will give 100-percent to my high school team in the hopes that we can repeat as state champions. But it was pretty neat to eyeball guys and think that ‘hey, I might be throwing to him one day.'" Christensen said.
Another visitor in Iowa City was Barrington, Illinois offensive lineman Dan Doering, one of the most sought after recruits in the country. He and Jake have formed a friendship dating back to January, and they were able to spend some time together on Sunday.
"We hung out quite a bit actually. We watched practice together and talked about that, and we just got done having dinner with them (the Doering family)." Christensen said.
"I drove back with Dan for a while our dad's rode in the same car. It was just fun hanging out with him, because we have become pretty good friends. We really didn't talk about football that much, we were talking about everything but football on the ride home."
Christensen had a very busy summer, what with committing to Iowa and finishing his baseball season. He also traveled to Las Vegas to ‘qualify' for EA Sports Elite 11 camp, the most prestigious camp in the country for prep quarterbacks.
He earned an invite to that camp, one of just 12 participants, due to his performance in Vegas and he made quite a splash at the event.
"It was a great time and I learned a lot. Learning from the different coaches and counselors, you learn new angles and techniques. It's good to get away and get some new teachings that you might not necessarily learn from talking to the same people." Christensen said.