If you aren’t familiar with Christopher Columbus High’s Jakhari Gore, then let this be your cram session.
At 5-foot-8, 175-pounds, Gore is a smaller back than most.
But, don’t let the small stature fool you.
This past season, the senior back rushed for 1,800 yards and 29 touchdowns – going over the 100-yard mark in nine of the team’s 11 games.
Mind you, in 6A Florida high school football, those numbers are pretty darn good.
“I know people want to get caught up in rankings and projections, but [Gore] is a guy that we could have put at any position and he would have been the best that we had on the field,” said head coach Chris Merritt. “He is that amazing.”
One thing that Merritt likes most is the three-star back’s vision, which he said sets him apart from any other runner in the country.
“I feel like he has some of the best headlights that I have ever seen,” he said. “We have to play his film on rewind and then slow motion just so that we can see what he saw. He anticipates what is coming so well, which makes him great in the open field.
“And when it comes to contact, he doesn’t know that he is 175 pounds. He thinks he is about 220.”
Gore, who expressed a strong interest in the LSU program over the past few months, chose the Tigers for a number of reasons.
“One, he sees a guy like Trindon Holliday, and he knows that a smaller back can be utilized in the system,” Merritt said. “When he sees a guy like Trindon excel, it pulls him in.
“Another big pull was that the team has a lot of runners that are graduating. That means that they don’t have a stable of backs, and [Gore] felt like he could fill the empty spot. He saw it as a big opportunity to get in the mix early.”
When Gore decided to give Miles his pledge on Tuesday night, the next morning brought a change of pace for both Gore and Merritt.
“I pick Jakhari up for school every single morning, and every single day he gets in the car and falls right back asleep,” Merritt said. “But, on Wednesday morning, he just couldn’t shut up, and it was all LSU talk. He talked and talked about his commitment and about how excited the LSU staff was to have him.
“He told me that he was finally able to get a good nights sleep.”
On Wednesday, Sabrina Gore, Jakhari’s mother, said that even Frank Wilson, named recruiting coordinator and running backs coach as the newest member to the LSU staff just this past weekend, got a few words in during Gore’s commitment phone call.
“He was just as excited and was saying how he can’t wait to get to coach Jakhari,” Sabrina said.
Rated as the No. 31 running back in the country, Gore chose LSU over offers from Tennessee, Auburn, California and others.
According to the man who has coached Gore the past four seasons, the Tigers are getting a good one.
“He is just very magnetic,” Merritt said. “He has a smile that people are drawn to, a smile so big that it could even work against him. He is a great kid, and he is going to bring nothing but positive things to Baton Rouge.”