Jumpin' Jarrod

One prospect participating in Sunday's InsideTennessee combine at Knoxville's D1 training complex literally produced an "over-the-top" performance.

Jarrod Wilson, a 4-star safety prospect from Buchtel High in Akron, Ohio, had his fellow campers buzzing when he leaped so high during the vertical-jump competition that his right hand passed over the top rung of the testing apparatus.

Wilson was credited with a 42-inch leap because the machine was set to record jumps up to 42 inches. After several minutes of discussion, D1 officials reset the apparatus to accommodate higher jumps. Wilson couldn't match his previous magic, however, posting a best of 41 inches on three subsequent jumps.

Wilson created another stir, however, during the one-on-one competition between pass receivers and pass defenders. Time after time he shut down opponents, whether they ran underneath routes, sideline routes or deep routes. The 6-3, 190-pounder rekindles memories of former Vol safety Deon Grant in that he has a real knack for roaming the secondary.

"I like being a ball hawk at free safety," Wilson said. "I love playing free safety. It's my job to cover the whole field in the secondary. I try to base my game on Ed Reed (Baltimore Ravens) and Troy Polamalu (Pittsburgh Steelers)."

Asked to describe "his game," Wilson replied: "I'm long and rangy. I cover from sideline to sideline. I just have a natural knack for the ball. Wherever it's at, I'm going to go get it."

Although he says he is "pretty good at stuffing the run," Wilson added that: "I think the thing I do best is anticipate the quarterback throwing the post route. I do that very well. It's all kind of instinct out there for me. It's kind of natural. I've been doing this since I was eight years old."

As a Buchtel junior last season he recorded 60 tackles and eight interceptions, five of which he returned for touchdowns. These numbers earned him honorable mention all-district. Obviously, he plays in one tough district.

Wilson should be an even better safety in 2011. That's because he's preparing to double as his team's quarterback this fall. Gaining an offensive perspective on the passing game should fine-tune his defensive perspective on it.

"Playing quarterback is similar to playing safety," he said. "At quarterback you read the secondary to see what it's doing. I can transfer that to safety because I know what the quarterback is looking for when he comes out of the huddle. Then, when I'm at quarterback, I know what the safety is looking at."

Although he and Buchtel teammate Corey Smith made the seven-hour drive from Akron to Knoxville to attend Saturday's Orange & White Game, Wilson says he has no list of preferred schools at this time. He knows what he's looking for in a school, however.

"I'm looking for a chance to play my freshman year," he said. "That's a big thing. Distance is important, too. I don't necessarily have to be in Ohio but I'd like to be close to Ohio so I can have a little fan base come watch me and support me."

Wilson reportedly has scholarship offers from Notre Dame, Michigan, Penn State, Tennessee and UCLA. He ranks No. 11 on Scout Midwest Regional Manager Allen Trieu's list of Ohio's top 100 prospects for 2011 and is described in these words by Bill Greene, Ohio recruiting analyst for Scout:

"If (William) Mahone isn't the most underrated player in Ohio, Jarrod Wilson fits that tag just as well. Wilson is a long, quick, physical safety, similar to Ohio State's Orhian Johnson. People are questioning his speed, but once he gets the football on defense he's going to put it in the end zone, and run by people doing it. He is still very raw as a prospect, but has such a high ceiling and will continue to get better."

The way Jarrod Wilson jumps, he'd better have a high ceiling everywhere he goes.

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