There’s under the radar, and then there’s Tulsa (Okla.) McLain’s Joshua Jacobs. From relative unknown to one of the most sought after prospects perhaps in the nation in the last week.
It’s a lot to take in for Jacobs, who once upon a time was looking at Wyoming as being his top offer. Now with schools like Oklahoma, Missouri and Alabama in the mix, things have gotten interesting in a hurry.
Jacobs, listed at 5-foot-11 and 200 pounds, has not taken any official visits yet. Why would he? Before this month, he wasn’t exactly a hot commodity.
Now Jacobs has a decision to make. To Norman? To Tuscaloosa? Somewhere else? It’s a good problem to have.
“Right now I don’t have anything set up,” Jacobs said. “I’m weighing all my options and looking over what’s best for me. It’s kind of crazy right now.”
That might be the understatement of the recruiting cycle. Jacobs began this week with OU coaches Bob Stoops, Lincoln Riley and Jay Boulware visiting him. The message was clear. If he visited Norman this weekend, he’ll get the offer.
However, later Monday evening, the message changed. If Jacobs wanted to commit right then and there, he could. He could be a Sooner and figure out the rest later.
Guess that’s what happens when you rushed for more than 2,700 yards and 36 touchdowns as a senior and enter the top 10 rankings in the state.
This season saw Jacobs move to quarterback. Obviously it’s not his natural position, but he did what he had to do in order to help the team.
“Being a leader, for sure,” said Jacobs about where he made the most strides as a player this season. “I had to step more into that role. They’d been wanting me to lead since I was a sophomore, and I got comfortable with it, pushing everybody to get better.”
Jacobs isn’t upset at the lack of recruiting attention. He understands it. He entered high school at 5-foot-1 and was around 5-5 following his sophomore season.
Then the growth spurt happened, and it’s still happening. Being small, though, did help Jacobs game in his opinion.
“Playing small helped me in a lot of ways,” Jacobs said. “I learned how to make people miss. And I knew my film would prove itself. Whatever happens, happens.”
What has happened is an offer from Missouri on Tuesday and Alabama’s running backs coach visiting Jacobs on Wednesday afternoon.
The Crimson Tide might pull the trigger on an offer. It’s something that still remains to be seen as Nick Saban works around the clock to finalize another stellar recruiting class.
As for OU, the Sooners have their closer in on this one. Offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley has earned the honor of being OU’s assistant coach who can seal the deal and Jacobs is a top priority this week.
Jacobs said he liked OU better than all of the other in-state schools, but it was never a dream school. He remembers the Adrian Peterson era and everything like that. Oregon was actually the dream school.
But Oregon seemed like far away as he saw other recruits in the state get offers and he be stuck with none until Wyoming came around.
The Cowboys have done an incredible job recruiting the state, and Jacobs is the latest example of that.
“They came during the football season,” Jacobs said. “They believed in me from the beginning, and I thank them for that. They’re real happy for me and cheering me on.”
Position is up for debate. Is he a running back? Maybe. Is he a slot receiver? He could grow into one. What’s clear is that whenever he has the ball in his hands, there is potential for magic to happen.
Tulsa is no stranger to top-tier recruits. But a school like Tulsa McLain doesn’t have a lot of football recruits come through its doors. The last major one was Prentiss Elliott but even that was more than a decade ago.
Add in the fact there is a stigma with certain Tulsa Public Schools and ability to be academically qualified, and that’s your recipe for how he got lost in the shuffle.
Once his senior film got out, though, the secret was over.
“It’s a blessing,” Jacobs said. “I’m opening the door. There are a lot of talented kids, a lot of under the radar kids. For the kids growing up, I’m trying to show them they can be something.
“It’s not so much pressure right now (picking a school). Everybody has believed in me, and I’m just trying to make them proud.”
It’s possible Jacobs makes two visits this weekend. As of Thursday evening, his weekend plans remained unknown. What’s clear, though, he has a bright future ahead.