The Rutgers defensive secondary struggled against the run last season, and Davon Jacobs made improvement his offseason focus.
Lorenzo Waters is gone and Jacobs steps into a bigger role where he wants to shut down opposing running backs.
“It’s a definite focus for us,” Jacobs said. “We need to be better with our run-pass keys and our eye discipline. That comes with our eye discipline. We worked on that all winter and did whatever the coaches asked of us. We worked on it by ourselves too. That helps us do better against the run.”
Jacobs logged 34 tackles as Waters’ backup and a special teams weapon last season. He flipped between linebacker and strong safety during the early parts of his career before a permanent role last season in the secondary.
“I’m better as far as knowing the defense better,” Jacobs said. “I know what the other guys are supposed to do on every play. I’m helping the younger guys where I can. I’m working on my angles and I feel like I’m getting better at that. I’m confident in myself. I feel like I can go every play if that’s what the coaches want.”
Jacobs battled with fellow Wayne (N.Y.) DePaul teammate Kiy Hester for strong safety in both the spring or summer. Hester went down late in camp with a lower-body injury, which likely puts Jacobs into the starter’s spot for Norfolk State.
“It’s been fun playing with someone I kind of grew up with,” Jacobs said. “He should be back shortly. He’s been looking good in camp, and Kiy’s a great teammate too.”
Jacobs welcomed another friend last week to the defensive secondary when freshman Najee Clayton of Paramus (N.J.) Catholic enrolled.
“Yeah, I’m excited that Najee is here,” Jacobs said. “We’re friends. I played against him in high school and we’re from the same town. He’s going to have a good career.”