The Freshman Fifteen - Leon Jacobs

One of the last verbal commitments in the 2013 class, linebacker Leon Jacobs was one of the first true freshman to burst on to the scene during fall camp, and he's already trying to make an impact on special teams. Badger Nation gets to know the freshman lineback a little better in the return of our popular feature.

MADISON - One of the players that burst on to the scene during Wisconsin's high school summer camp, true freshman Leon Jacobs is getting a chance to make an impact on the starting kickoff, kickoff return and punt return. This weekend, he'll get a chance to show off in front of plenty of family and friends.

With No.20 Wisconsin heading to Arizona State this weekend, Jacobs says he has roughly 10 family members making the drive down to Tempe to watch him play his third college football game. That experience will be another memory in what continues to be a remarkable journey.

A talented high school basketball player who was talked into coming out for football his senior year, Jacobs became a natural high school running back and linebacker, earning first-team all-conference honors as a senior after rushing for 847 yards and six touchdowns and recording 19 tackles, three sacks, a forced fumble and a defensive touchdown.

When the new coaching staff came to Wisconsin and it was decided the Badgers needed to add outside linebacker to fit their new 3-4 scheme, defensive coordinator Dave Aranda knew which recruit to contact. After a tremendous fall camp that saw him make a handful of players beyond his years, Jacobs has shown onlookers that his best years are ahead of him.

Returning for a fourth season, Badger Nation does a meet and greet with the newer members of the Wisconsin football team, shedding a light on some of the unknown kids that figure to be important parts of the Badgers' future.

Asking 15 questions, we call this segment the Freshman Fifteen.

What's been the hardest part for you adjusting to college life?

Jacobs: The hardest part is the long days. You wake up at 6 a.m. and you don't get done with study hall until 9 p.m. Just having those long days takes a lot out of you.

What's been the hardest part adjusting to college football?

Jacobs: Nothing really if you keep playing hard and listening to the coaches. Obviously they are going to get on you when you do something wrong and you make a lot of mistakes as a freshman, so I have to keep my head up and correct my mistakes on the field.

Since you arrived here, how have you changed your body to prepare for the college game?

Jacobs: I am moving a lot better and seeing things better with my eyes. I am taking on blockers better, too. Coach Busch and coach Aranda are doing a good job of teaching me and helping me do what I need to do.

What do you think your strengths are right now where you can help this team and what your biggest areas of weaknesses?

Jacobs: I think my strength is that I am good in pass coverage. I want to improve on rushing the passer and being a playmaker.

How is Madison different than your home town of Los Angeles? What's the biggest difference?

Jacobs: In Los Angeles I had a wide variety of places to go. In Madison I feel kind of trapped. I feel like I am on an island when I am out there, but I don't mind because it keeps me focused.

Do you have any idea what you want to study in college?

Jacobs: I am taking some media classes, but I don't know what I want to major in at this point.

What's your favorite place on the Madison campus?

Jacobs: Camp Randall because I get to play football.

What's your least favorite place on campus?

Jacobs: Probably my dorms.

What do you enjoy doing most in your free time when you get the chance to kick back and relax?

Jacobs: I just like walking around and seeing the city, becoming more comfortable with my surroundings.

Who did you live with this summer and who are you living with this fall? How are those relationships?

Jacobs: I lived with T.J. Watt, Jack Cichy and Rob Wheelwright over the summer. This fall is Chikwe Obasih. It's been going good. Now that I am moved into the dorms, we are all in the same hallway. We have built a pretty good bond.

What's the most interesting thing you've learn about Chikwe?

Jacobs: He's awake at all hours. I feel like he never sleeps.

Who was your big brother and was the biggest thing you learned from him?

Jacobs: My big brother was Chris Borland. He taught me that the coaches aren't going to tell you everything, so you have to pick up on the little stuff, like on how people block. Like he said, the coaches won't tell you that; they just expect you to know.

Where does your biggest support come from? Family? Friends? Teammates?

Jacobs: Myself. I am pushing myself and striving to get better. A year ago I didn't have a scholarship. Now that I am here, I know I have to take advantage of this opportunity.

What's your parents reaction to you playing college football here, being on your own for the first time and starting your journey at this school?

Jacobs: Oh, they love it. My parents are high on academics and this is a prestigious academic school. They get a chance to see me play on TV and they are really proud.

What's the best part of being a Wisconsin football player and putting on that red and white jersey?

Jacobs: The first game I didn't let it get to me because I knew if I did I wouldn't play well. After the game, it was amazing. You can't really describe to somebody until they've done it.


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