Jessen: 'Twice as strong and 100 percent'

THESE DAYS, RUNNING BACK Skylar Jessen is immersed in a workout regimen designed to have him in fighting trim by the time he makes the move to Pullman in July. The hamstring injury that shortened his senior year is but a memory, and the future Cougar said he hopes to make an impact out of the gate -- be that in the backfield or elsewhere.

Jessen is among a quintet of rookies Washington State lists at the RB spot who are scheduled to join the Cougs this summer. The other four are JC transfers J.T. Diederichs and Derrell Hutsona, and prep ball carriers Marcus Richmond and Chris Ivory. Jessen said he looks forward to the competition. Other position possibilities could be, with Lorenzo Bursey transferring, the No. 2 position at slotback behind Michael Bumpus and a look on the return teams.

"Maybe I'll play some slot wide receiver, anything," said Jessen. "I'm not really too worried about the depth chart. You just have to work through it."

BUT RUNNING BACK is where Jessen will get his first look.

"Skylar Jessen has great speed and has great potential," said coach Bill Doba this past Signing Day.

DESPITE TWO OF THREE seasons shortened by injury, Jessen gained 3,716 ground yards during his career at Mead, setting school records for rushing, touchdowns and scoring. He was on pace to shatter the Greater Spokane League career marks for rushing yards and TDs when a hamstring injury shuttered his senior campaign at the season's midpoint. The future Cougar saw action in only six games this past season, but he rushed for 796 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Jessen's hammy is now 100 percent.

"The hamstring is perfect," he said. "(In my) speed training, they have me doing full sprints and everything else. It feels perfect now, I can't even tell I injured it."

These days, in concert with maintaining a 3.5 GPA, Jessen is on a 6-of-7 plan. His twice-a-week speed training, which includes over-speeds, resistance, core, hurdles and more, is complemented with the additional workouts he goes through four days a week.

LISTED BY WASHINGTON STATE at 185-pounds on Signing Day, Jessen said he currently checks in at 5-11, 200-pounds. In the photo accompanying this article, Jessen was around 210 pounds and 13 percent body fat.

"Right now I'm about 200 and 9 percent body fat," said Jessen. "I cut down and leaned up -- and my legs are twice as strong as they were then. I'm probably in the best shape I've been in."

During his prep days, Jessen was timed at 10.64 in the 100 meters, has a bench press of 330, a power clean of 260 pounds, and a vertical leap measuring 32 inches. He recently rapped out 225 pounds on the bench press 17 times.

ONE OF THE top 75 prep RB prospects in the nation coming out of high school, Jessen took in some of the Cougs' practice and scrimmage sessions earlier this spring.

"We're looking a lot better," said Jessen. "I think we'll do pretty good coming up in the next couple of years. We're going to turn it around for sure."

Jessen said he plans a mid-July touch down at Washington State.

"I'm going to stay around home and do some training but then I want to go down there and get woven into the team and all, learn some of the offense and get prepared for the season," he said.

DESPITE HIS ABSENCE in all or parts of 12 games the last two seasons, Jessen was a Seattle Times "Red Chip", and honorable mention "Northwest Nugget" pick by the Tacoma News Tribune. The Times defines red chippers as believed capable of becoming starters in a major conference such as the Pac-10.

As a sophomore, Jessen exploded onto the scene earning GSL offensive MVP honors as he racked up 1,965 hashes and 34 TDs on 190 carries. Over the course of his prep career, he averaged more than 10 yards a carry.

Skylar Jessen profile

Cougfan Top Stories