SHAWNEE, Okla. — High school quarterback John Jacobs III exhibited a masterful showing in a combine last month in Memphis, having clocked in at 4.47 and 4.49 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
To his credit, his immense speed and agility as a dual-threat athlete are among the reasons Jacobs has emerged as one of the nation’s most sought-after prospects for the class of 2015.
According to various recruiting analysts, Jacobs, a Dallas native, has upgraded his stock to a 5-star prospect, in large part because he has earned the reputation as someone who has the ability to extend plays. In a nutshell, this speedy athlete is widely regarded as a game-changer, given that he helped steer Shawnee from years of futility to a team that's enjoyed consecutive playoff appearances.
That was evident this past season for the Wolves, who finished with a 9-3 mark and advanced to the Class 5A championship game.
Against Guthrie, which edged Shawnee, 23-21, Jacobs—rated the top dual-threat passer in America by former University of Oklahoma quarterbacks coach and current DeBartolo Sports instructor Joe Dickinson —was as good as advertised in what undoubtedly was one of the most remarkable performances in recent memory by an Oklahoma high school quarterback.
Jacobs, who boasts a 6'2" frame, accounted for 363 of the Wolves’ 365 yards of total offense, this after spending a majority of the year nursing a sports hernia.
“Well, my whole junior season I had a sports hernia so I couldn't really play to my full potential, I feel,” Jacobs told MemphiSport.com during a recent telephone interview from Washington, D.C., site of the Nike Elite 11 Combine at the Washington Redskins' facility. “But I'm glad we stepped up as a team and really shocked a lot of people.”
No doubt, Jacobs’ immense athleticism as a fierce, dual-threat athlete has quickly drawn the attention of a slew of college scouts, many of whom have likened his skills to former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner.
“He’s a little bigger than Johnny Manziel, but he’s faster,” said John Jacobs Sr., John Jacobs’ father.
Jacobs Sr., a longtime evangelist, is widely known as the founder of The Power Team and The Next Generation Power Force. In addition, he played a guest role in an episode of the television series Walker, Texas Ranger. The show's star, popular actor Chuck Norris, is his close friend.
Jacobs Sr. said most recruiters with whom he’s spoken said that what separates his son’s football prowess from other 5-star prospects is that for an athlete who has demonstrated the keen ability to be an efficient passer and runner, he can also extend plays, especially in long-yardage situations.
As Jacobs Sr. recalls, such skills were initially discovered when his son first began playing competitive football at 7.
“I trained him not to be a quarterback, but a great athlete,” Jacobs Sr. said. “My son, for years, wondered why coaches had him catching tennis balls. They had him doing athleticism drills, not just quarterback drills.”
In essence, Jacobs practiced with a varsity team as an eighth grader at a Houston-area high school, although he wasn’t allowed to play in varsity games that year. Still, his display drew rave reviews from coaches, one of whom said to his father, "Your eighth grader ran all over our varsity defense."
In addition, Jacobs routinely trained with former Kansas State All-American Michael Bishop, who instructed the college prospect on throwing the ball from 40 yards yards out into a trash can. Today, Jacobs can hurl the ball from 70 yards out into the same target.
Once his opportunity came to assume full-time starting duties, he didn’t disappoint.
Instead, he made considerable progress as the newly installed field general for a Shawnee team he engineered to the playoffs as a sophomore. That year, he amassed 2,500 yards of total offense. The next year, he only picked up where he left off in 2012.
To his credit, Jacobs turned in record numbers as one of the nation’s fiercest dual-threat athletes, having led the state in yards passing (3,550) and yards rushing (1,250). Add to the fact that he garnered 69 touchdowns during his first two seasons under center and it’s no wonder a plethora of scouts are hastening to Shawnee to witness all of the hoopla surrounding this blue-chip prospect.
“John Jacobs has lighting feet,” former NFL offensive tackle Jack Peavey, the assistant athletic director at Oklahoma Baptist University, said of Jacobs. “He is the hardest working quarterback in Oklahoma. Nobody put in more hours of quarterback training or (weight) lifting in preparation for his future. I have seen him play for the last two years. He refuses to lose.”
Fortunately for Jacobs, college scouts have taken notice of his have-no-fear demeanor and resilience on the field.
That’s because Jacobs has already received offers from Troy State and Alabama-Birmingham. Such a list figures to increase considerably in the coming months, given that he has generated interest from numerous schools, most notably Minnesota, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Nebraska and Vanderbilt.
In addition, Jacobs has a busy itinerary this summer. He is scheduled to participate in a number of 7-on-7 camps and combines before shifting his focus to what many recruiting analysts forecast will be a record-breaking senior season. Under the direction of longtime coach Billy Brown, the Wolves are preseason favorites to win the Class 5A title next year.
“(University of Arizona football coach) Rich Rodriguez told me the one thing he likes about my son is that he isn’t afraid to run. He can also pass with the best of pocket quarterbacks. But he can run with the best of running backs. He’s a show-maker. He’s a playmaker and a fierce competitor who ignites the crowd, converting 90 percent of third and fourth down," said Jacobs Sr.
With his solid arm, lightning-quick feet and tactical mind, Jacobs compares to NFL Hall of Famer Steve Young.
“He’s my all-time favorite player,” Jacobs said of Young, a dual-threat athlete after whom he's aiming to pattern as an NFL standout in the coming years.
Recruiting information courtesy of 247 Sports.
For more information on Jacobs III, Google "JohnJacobsQuarterback" or "JohnJacobsGreatEscape."