A Major Hit

Jon Major just got the attention of the Douglas County Stadium crowd with another bone-crushing hit, and the big-time linebacker didn't even lay out the ball carrier. At 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, the intimidating middle linebacker from Ponderosa High in Parker, Colo., has been known to knock the fullback into the tailback carrying the football, making yet another tackle.

"The stadium recognizes who he is," Ponderosa head coach Randy Huff said.

So has Wisconsin, Washington, Colorado and Utah, as those schools have already offered the junior a scholarship. Notre Dame is sending a lot of mail, and Jon Major is very interested.

"He's knocked some people for a loop," Huff said. "He'll hit anything in his way. The offensive lineman thinks he has a beat on him, and then (Major) hits him before he hits him."

With his instincts and speed, it's easy to see why Major lays the wood on Friday nights. He said he has posted a 4.58 40-yard dash time, and a 4.1 shuttle time, both coming last year. That's safety swiftness in a linebacker's body, and he might even be faster than that.

"He runs downhill to attack the line of scrimmage, that is one of the best things he does," Huff said. "What he does better than that is run sideline to sideline. We run a style of defense where he has to read and run. As a two-year starter, he knows the defense as well as I do, and some of our defensive staff he might know it better than because he has spent the time in film study."

In just seven games, Major made 107 tackles, 15 were for loss, with three forced fumbles and an interception. He missed four games with a sprained ankle.

"I play mike but I can play any of the linebacker positions," Major said. "I also play something of a strong safety, so I know how to cover people. I'm pretty good in pass coverage. I'd say my strengths are that I'm smart and I have good instincts. I can plug the hole."

Major is plugging along well in the classroom with a 3.7 GPA. He lists his early favorites as Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Washington, Colorado, Michigan and Ohio State in no particular order.

His whole life, Major has put in the work to give himself the opportunity to be in the position he is currently in. His father Ken was an All-American tight end at Rice and was going to play for the Miami Dolphins before breaking some bones in his neck. His father ended up being fine, but unable to ever suit up again. Seeing how good his father was, has made him strive to try and match what he did.

"I want to be as successful as him, so he makes me want to work hard," Major said. That's figuratively and literally, as Ken Major is the receivers coach and assistant offensive coordinator at Ponderosa.

"They talk about it, they walk the walk and do what they've got to do," Huff said. "He does a lot of things on his own. When he gets done with practice, they have other gyms they go to, it's a constant drive for him."

Major has been on unofficial visits to Washington, Colorado, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Notre Dame. He is headed to Northwestern later this month.

It was the home-opener against Penn State, when Major made it into South Bend.

"The fans, every player seems like a celebrity," Major said. "It was very pretty. I liked the dome and all that."

He got a chance to chat with Irish recruiting coordinator Rob Ianello, but it was nothing major.

Major has been to camps at Colorado and Washington. He says he can bench press 290 pounds and squat 450 pounds.

Football might not be Major's only opportunity on the next level. He is also a heck of a baseball player, batting .475 with five homers and about 30 RBIs as a sophomore cleanup hitter. The right fielder said he is getting mail from schools like Arizona and Santa Clara. Major mentioned he would consider playing both in college if it becomes a possibility.

That's certainly been done at Notre Dame.

Major is someone that could end up committing somewhere early.

"It really doesn't matter to me when I make my decision. It all depends on if I find the place I want to be."

IrishIllustrated.com Top Stories