Closer Look at OSU Commit Taivon Jacobs
By Ken Pryor
When Ohio State received a verbal commitment from Suitland (Md.) High School’s Taivon Jacobs last month, I was immediately intrigued. Having coached football in that area of the country, I started looking at his highlight reel and began wondering how Urban Meyer would utilize a player of his class.
Jacobs possesses tremendous speed, and we already know how Meyer feels about speed. He loves it, he wants as much of it as he can possibly muster and Jacobs has it. He has been clocked several times in the sub 4.4-range in the 40-yard dash.
Anyone who runs a sub 4.4 is moving.
Many people have said that Jacobs is a tad undersized with his 5-10, 160-pound frame. No doubt, 160 pounds is a tad light in the rump, but he should be fine once he arrives in Columbus where he will partake in Ohio State’s lifting regimen and the newly implemented dietary program initiated by Coach Meyer and his staff.
The speculation is that Jacobs will be utilized in the manner many envisioned for Middletown product Jalin Marshall, which is in step with playing the so-called ‘Percy Harvin role.’ Now we are hearing the name Chris Rainey when it comes to comparing the talents of Taivon Jacobs and the role he will serve at Ohio State, but there has already been a Taivon Jacobs at Ohio State.
Photo by Jim Davidson
Does the name Lamaar Thomas ring a bell?
His stay in Columbus was a short-lived, but Thomas could have been Ohio State’s Chris Rainey or Percy Harvin in the right system. For reasons known only to those smarter than I (and Jim Bollman), Lamaar couldn’t see the field at Ohio State.
Some will say he should have done more with the time he did have. However, the staff at that time was not exactly known for offensive wizardry. It did not appear they knew how to utilize a weapon like Lamaar Thomas.
Lamaar was sort of a tweener in size and stature—though bigger than Taivon Jacobs—not quite a receiver and not quite a running back.
But he was certainly a weapon. Jacobs is similar to Thomas in many ways aside from the fact they were both Prince George’s County products in Maryland.
Those who know anything about PG County know the athletic lands there are fruitful in talent.
The good news is for Jacobs, and Ohio State, is that Meyer not only knows how to implement a player of this skill set, he actively seeks this kind of player.
But speed alone won’t always get the job done. The player needs the “quicks” to really do damage in the open space. Having watched the Jacobs highlight reel, it’s hard not to be impressed by his quicks. He has an ability to make people miss in the open field—a talent that is absolutely paramount in Urban Meyer’s offense.
Moreover, he catches the ball well. Jacobs seems to have a nice ability to track the ball while running full stride on deep passes as the ball hangs in flight. This is not the easiest athletic task in the world, so he is more than just a kid who can run.
Jacobs made the All-Met team last season in Maryland. Here is a flavor sampling of the type of kids who’ve made the All-Met team in the past
Conner Crowell – LB (Ohio State), Stephon Diggs – WR (Maryland), Alex Carter – WR (Stanford), Evan Royster – RB (Penn State), Joe Haden – DB (Florida), Lamaar Thomas –WR (Ohio State), Josh Furman – SS (Michigan), Bryn Renner – QB (North Carolina), Dominic Clarke – DB (Ohio State), Devon Smith – WR (Penn State), Kenny Tate – DB (Maryland), Arrelious Benn – WR (Illinois), Vontae Davis – DB (Illinois), Marvin Austin – DT (North Carolina), Derrick Williams – ATH (Penn State) and Navarro Bowman – LB (Penn State)
The list could go on and on, but suffice to say the level of play is pretty doggone good in order to be named to the Washington Post All-Met team. Jacobs is in good company.
Because there is such a dearth of speed at the skill positions at Ohio State, I look forward to seeing how Taivon Jacobs develops under Urban Meyer, Zach Smith and offensive coordinator Tom Herman. He is the kind of player who can turn a bubble screen or a slip screen into a huge play. He can run jet sweep and turn it into six points in the blink of an eye.
It appears Meyer has an appreciation for the talent that resides in Maryland. Former OSU head coach Jim Tressel had begun to make strides in the area for sure, but Meyer already had a sense of what gems could be discovered in Maryland, and he has developed great relationships with numerous coaches in the area.
Much of what has been written here remains to be seen. All of the prognosticating and wondering is part of the fun. We won’t really know what Jacobs can do until we see him in a Buckeye uniform next fall.
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