Up Close: Vince Jacobs, Part I

CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- Now that Vince Jacobs has put aside any doubt and firmed up his commitment to attend North Carolina on a football scholarship, it's time to take a closer look at this dedicated student-athlete that the Tar Heels will have on board in 2006.

Vince, Sr., a computer consultant and Lilly Jacobs, a psychiatrist, didn't raise their son to take the easy road or to underachieve. They brought Vince, Jr. up smart, and when he was ready for high school, they made an investment in his academic future.

From the moment you step foot on the campus at Providence Day, readily apparent is the privilege of those lucky enough to attend. The grounds and facilities are immaculate, more characteristic of a small college campus. It's a higher level of learning and it's not cheap.

And Jacobs knows and appreciates what his parents have sacrificed for his education. In return, he's making sure that after he graduates, they will never have to spend another dollar on his education.

"The opportunities you get here are unmatched, especially academically," Jacobs said.

Although he's already scored 1150 on the SAT and has an overall GPA of 3.0, Jacobs refuses to sit back and cruise through his senior year.

"The main motivation I have is the promise I made to my parents for the sacrifice they had to make for me to go to this school," Jacobs said. "It's obviously not free. When I transferred over here, my goal was to get an athletic scholarship so they wouldn't have to pay for college.

"That just keeps me going to make sure I graduate and to make sure I don't fail next fall."

Jacobs originally committed to Carolina back in July, but told Inside Carolina on Thursday he had not yet "finalized" his decision, and was considering taking visits to Clemson and Virginia in the near future.

But following his visit this past weekend, Jacobs returned home with his father secure in knowing Carolina was the right decision all along. The first thing he did was cancel the other visits.

"It was the mixture at Carolina," Jacobs said. "They didn't put football over academics. It was like a perfect mixture of it all. I really liked the community at Carolina and I really felt like I fit in there."

Providence Day coach Keith Flynn is banking Jacobs won't let the UNC coaches down next fall either.

"His potential is really unlimited," Flynn said. "I don't even know if he's scratched the surface here at our school. Whenever he has to compete for playing time, I think he'll step it up a notch – he'll have to. Here, there's no one pushing him.

"Coach [John] Bunting used the term as a ‘bender' -- ‘He's a great bender,' he said. I guess for a big guy like that to be able to get his body down in position, make moves, lower his hips, change direction – that is what I think they really liked about Vince."

In his final two prep seasons, Jacobs caught 67 passes for 10 touchdowns, playing primarily at wide receiver and tight end. But his size and speed also made him a versatile athlete that also played H-Back and defensive end at times.

"You can't coach 6-8," Flynn said. "When he sticks his hands up, he may be ten-feet tall. He's a tall, big target, and he's got great soft hands.

"He just gives you a threat. He's just done so many things for us. It's going to be hard to replace a guy like that. He made an immediate impact the moment he walked on campus and put the pads on."

Stay tuned for Part II coming tomorrow…

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