Five-star prospect John Jacobs visited Mid-South, labeled ‘game changer’ by scouts

GAME CHANGER --- Shawnee (Okla.) High quarterback John Jacobs' talents as one of the nation's top high school prospect were on display in a recent combine in Memphis. The University of Memphis are among a host of schools that are recruiting the five-star, dual-threat prospect. (Photos submitted by John Jacobs, Jr.)

GAME CHANGER — Shawnee (Okla.) High quarterback John Jacobs’ talents as one of the nation’s premiere high school prospects were on display in a recent combine in Memphis. The University of Memphis are among a host of schools that are recruiting the five-star, dual-threat prospect. (Photos submitted by John Jacobs, Jr.)

Shawnee (Okla.) High 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 is 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 five-star prospect, in large part because he has earned the reputation as one who has the ability to extend plays. In a nutshell, this speedy athlete is widely regarded as a “game changer,” given he helped steer Shawnee from years of futility to a team that 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-foot-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 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 liken his skills to former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner.

'LIGHTING QUICK' --- Among the reasons scouts are competing to land Jacobs (No. 8) is that he has proven to be just as effcient running the ball than operating in the pocket.

‘LIGHTING QUICK’ — Among the reasons scouts are competing to land Jacobs (No. 8) is that he has proven to be just as efficient running the ball than operating in the pocket.

“He’s a little bigger than Johnny Manziel, but he’s faster,” said John Jacobs, Sr., John Jacobs’ father.

 

John Jacobs, Sr. a longtime evangelist, is widely known as the founder of The Power Team and The Next Generation Power Force.

John Jacobs, Sr. a longtime evangelist, is widely known as the founder of The Power Team and The Next Generation Power Force.

John Jacobs, 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, whose star, renowned actor Chuck Norris is his close friend.

Having raised his son since he was seven years old, John Jacobs, Sr. said most recruiters to whom he’s spoken said that what separates his son’s football prowess from other five-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 John Jacobs, Sr. recalls, such skills were initially discovered when his son first began playing competitive football at the age of seven.

“I trained him not to be a quarterback, but a great athlete,” John 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.”

 

STAR WATCH --- Jacobs father says his son's skills have drawn comparisons to former Texas A&M All-American Johnny Manziel, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner.

STAR WATCH — Jacobs’ father says his son’s skills have drawn comparisons to former Texas A&M All-American Johnny Manziel, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner.

In essence, Jacobs III 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 draw rave reviews from coaches, one of whom said to his father, “Your eighth grader ran all over our varsity defense.”

In addition, Jacobs III routinely trained with former Kansas State All-American Michael Bishop, who lessoned the college prospect on throwing the ball from 40 yards yards out into a trash can. Today, Jacobs III can hurled the ball from 70 yards out into the same target.

Once his opportunity came to assume the 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 III turned in record numbers as one of the nation’s most fierce 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 III. “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 III, college scouts have taken notice of his have-no-fear demeanor and resilience on the field.

That’s because Jacobs III has already received offers from Troy State and Alabama-Birmingham. Such a list figures to increase considerably in the coming months, given he has generated interests from numerous schools, most notably Memphis, Nevada, West Virginia, Texas, Utah State, Louisiana Tech, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, North Texas, Minnesota, and San Diego State, among others.

FOREVER YOUNG --- Jacobs III, on the other hand, likens his skills as a dual-threat athlete to NFL Hall of Famer Steve Young.

FOREVER YOUNG — Jacobs III, on the other hand, likens his skills as a dual-threat athlete to NFL Hall of Famer Steve Young.

In addition, Jacobs III has a busy itinerary this summer, considering 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 play-maker and a fierce competitor who ignites the crowd, converting 90 percent of third and fourth down.”

Both with his solid arm and lightning quick feet, tactics Jacobs III compares to that of NFL Hall of Famer Steve Young.

“He’s my all-time favorite player,” Jacobs III (johnjacobsqb@gmail.com) said of Young.

A dual-threat athlete after whom he’s aiming to pattern as an NFL standout in the coming years.

Stay tuned.

For more information on Jacobs III, Google “JohnJacobsQuarterback”  or “JohnJacobsGreatEscape.”

Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. To reach Johnson, email him at andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist. 

MSL Interview: Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler comments on David Letterman retiring and more

Photo by Michael Cardwell

Photo by Michael Cardwell

WWE Hall of Famer Jerry “The King” Lawler joined Kevin Cerrito on MSL to talk about his latest Memphis Grizzlies playoff appearance, the “Yes!” chant, wrestling’s best entrances, David Letterman retiring,  Mama’s Family and more.

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Click here for more MSL interviews.

MemphiSport Live

Kevin Cerrito and Marcus Hunter host MemphiSport Live (MSL) on Sports 56 & 87.7 FM every Saturday from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm. MSL was voted 3rd Best Sports Radio Show in the 2010, 2011 & 2012 Memphis Flyer Best of Memphis poll.

Follow the MSL hosts on Twitter @cerrito & @marcus__hunter.

MSL Podcast: 4.27.14 ‘Back Again’

MSL Presser

HOUR 1:

(Segment 1) Kevin Cerrito and Marcus Hunter  talk about the Grizzlies vs. Thunder playoff series, Michael Heisley, and Donald Sterling.
(Segment 2)  Jerry “The King” Lawler joins Kevin Cerrito to talk about his latest Memphis Grizzlies playoff appearance, the “Yes!” chant, wrestling’s best entrances, David Letterman retiring, and more.
(Segment 3)  Cerrito announces the return of  ‘Have Grizzlies PA Announcer Rick Trotter Say Whatever You Like.′

MemphiSport Live

HOUR 2:

(Segment 1)  Memphis Flyer Grizzlies writer Kevin Lipe calls in for his weekly segment to talk playoffs and the Adam Silver press conference at FedExForum.
(Segment 2) Memphis Flyer’s Film/TV editor Greg Akers joins Kevin Cerrito to talk about what he recommends this month, who would play Russell Westbrook in a movie, and to tell us why Nashville Sucks.
(Segment 3) Woohoos and Boos.


MemphiSport Live

 

Kevin Cerrito and Marcus Hunter host MemphiSport Live (MSL) on Sports 56 & 87.7 FM every Saturday from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm. MSL was voted 3rd Best Sports Radio Show in the 2010, 2011 & 2012 Memphis Flyer Best of Memphis poll.

Grizzlies reserve Quincy Pondexter hopeful to return if Memphis advances in playoffs

Quincy Pondexter is clinging to hope.

While talking midrange jumper following a shootaround session last week, the Memphis Grizzlies reserve shooting guard appeared unaffected by the stress fracture in his right foot he suffered in a Dec. 9 loss against GoldenState.

Days later, the team announced that Pondexter would miss the remainder of the season.

SET TO RETURN? Grizzlies reserve shooting guard Quincy Pondexter said last week that he could be cleared to play if Memphis makes a deep playoff run. Pondexter has been out since suffering a stress fracture in his right foot in early December. (Photo by Danny Johnston/Getty Images)

SET TO RETURN? Grizzlies reserve shooting guard Quincy Pondexter said last week that he could be cleared to play if Memphis makes a deep playoff run. Pondexter has been out since suffering a stress fracture in his right foot in early December. (Photo by Danny Johnston/Getty Images)

“I’m fine. I just took a couple of joke-around shots,” Pondexter told MemphiSport as the Grizzlies prepared for their regular season finale against the Dallas Mavericks.

Although Pondexter has yet to be cleared by doctors to resume practicing, the former University of Washington star hinted the possibility exists that he could return during Memphis’ playoff stretch.

The No. 7 seed Grizzlies took a two games to one lead in their best-of-7 opening round playoff series Thursday night with a 98-95  overtime win against the No. 2 seed Oklahoma City Thunder in FedExForum. Game 4 is Saturday night at 8:30 CST.

“It depends on how far of a run they make,” Pondexter said, when asked if he could return during the playoffs. “ I could possibly be available. I don’t know yet. I haven’t discussed the time table with doctors.”

If Pondexter is cleared to return, he would add more depth to a bench that has produced quality minutes through two playoff games.

The 26-year-old, Fresno, Calif. native played a pivotal role in Memphis’ dramatic postseason run last year that ended in the Western Conference Finals.

Pondexter appeared in 15 playoff games last year, registering career highs in points (8.9) and minutes played (23.8). In all, he’s appeared in 22 postseason games since he was traded to the Grizzlies from New Orleans in December 2011 for Greivis Vasquez.

Although he has not been cleared to return to action, Pondexter said he’s recouping comfortably and would welcome the opportunity to give it a go if the Grizzlies manage to upset the Thunder.

“It’s feels great,” said Pondexter, when asked about the status of his foot. “I’ve been conditioning a few weeks now. You know, I see a lot of progress. But I’m fine. That’ll be awesome (if cleared to play) because I really want to get out there and play. I’m excited. I’m glad (the Grizzlies) are doing well.”

The past two seasons have been challenging for Pondexter, considering he has battled an assortment of injuries. Prior to his season-ending foot injury, Pondexter was limited to 59 games during the 2012-13 season because of a right MCL sprain.

Andre Johnson covers the NBA for MemphiSport. To reach Johnson, email him at andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

VIDEO: Grizz does his best Jerry Lawler impression, ends with ‘The King’ attacking Doug Gilbert

Photo by Michael Cardwell

Photo by Michael Cardwell

Over the past several weeks, Grizz has been honoring wrestling greats like Hulk HoganUltimate WarriorStone Cold Steve Austin“Macho Man” Randy Savage & The Rock by ripping off their entrances.

Grizz waited until the high profile stage of Grizzlies-Thunder Game 3 to debut his version of the entrance made famous by Memphis wrestling icon and Grizzlies playoff regular Jerry “The King” Lawler. The Memphis Grizzlies mascot’s attempt was interrupted by “Dangerous” Doug Gilbert, before Lawler made the save.

Watch The King and Grizz from view #1:

Watch The King and Grizz from view #2:

Twitter: @cerrito
Email: kevin@memphisport.net

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VIDEO: Kameron Whalum captures the celebration in FedExForum’s lobby following the Grizzlies’ Game 3 overtime win

Memphis’ own Kameron Whalum – trombonist for Bruno Mars  – was in The Grindhouse for Game 3 of the Memphis Grizzlies-OKC Thunder playoff series.

After the game, Whalum captured this video of fans celebrating in the lobby after the Grizzlies’ second consecutive overtime win against the Thunder in the NBA Playoffs:

Twitter: @cerrito
Email: kevin@memphisport.net

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PHOTOS: Mike Conley’s wooden hat and where he got it

No matter what Mike Conley did on the court (including winning  2014 NBA Sportsmanship Award) could over shadow the fashion statement he made in Game 3 of the Grizzlies-Thunder series.

Mike Conley became the NBA’s answer to Pharrell when he wore a wooden hat before and after the Grizzlies’ big overtime win.

Take a look at the pictures of Conley and his hat made by Two Guys Bowtie, a company based in the home state of the rival Thunder:

Twitter: @cerrito
Email: kevin@memphisport.net

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Throwback Thursday: Cactus Jack and Jeff Jarrett battle for titles

Cactus Jack Old School

Memphis was hardcore before hardcore was popular.  Mick Foley is now known as the Hardcore Legend, but before that he was one half of the USWA Tag Team Champions.

This week’s Throwback Thursday takes us back to the late 1980’s, where Foley was known as Cactus Jack.  Not only was he defending the USWA Tag Team Championship but he was defending them against a young Jeff Jarrett.

Cactus Jack & Scott Braddock defend the USWA Tag Team Titles against Jeff Jarrett & Matt Borne:

Mick Foley is a WWE Hall of Famer, former World Heavyweight Champion & a New York Times Best Selling Author.  Jeff Jarrett won World Championships, was the founder of TNA Wrestling & has brand new company Global Force Wrestling.  Each of these men left their mark on Memphis and the Mid-South during the early stages of their careers.

Fun Facts:  Mick Foley once played four different characters in the WWE… at the same time!  He actively competed as Mick Foley, Dude Love, Cactus Jack  and Mankind.

There has been a lot of buzz about Jeff Jarrett’s new wrestling promotion.  Global Force Wrestling is based out of Nashville and set to debut in 2015.  Jeff Jarrett provides daily updates on his Twitter.

 

“Throwback Thursday” is a weekly Memphis Wrestling post at MemphiSport.com.

Dustin Starr is an active sports entertainer and regular contributor to MemphiSport and MSL. Follow him @DustinStarr.

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VIDEO: How Grizzlies Growl Towels Are Made

Have you ever wondered what the process was in creating the Growl Towels for Memphis Grizzlies home playoff games?

Watch how the Growl Towels are made:

(H/T @stvnrssll)

Twitter: @cerrito
Email: kevin@memphisport.net

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CBHS football star Cameron Cook survives freak neck injury, starts own business

 

COOL, CAM, AND COLLECTIVE --- Cameron Cook had quickly come under the radar among college scouts during his stint as a football player at Christian Brother High School until a freak neck injury ended his career prior to his senior season. Cook is now a well-known graphic designer in the Memphis and surrounding areas. (Photos submitted by Lakina Sidney)

COOL, CAM, AND COLLECTIVE — Cameron Cook had quickly come under the radar among college scouts during his stint as a football player at Christian Brother High School until a freak neck injury ended his career prior to his senior season. Cook is now a well-known graphic designer in the Memphis and surrounding areas. (Photos submitted by Lakina Sidney)

Cameron Cook first began playing competitive football when he was five years old.

Like many of his peers, he had developed a deep admiration for the sport.

So much, in fact, that within the first year after making the transition to prep football for Christian Brothers High, he quickly came under the radar by college scouts.

Maryville College in Tennessee was heavily recruiting him, as was Augustana College in Illinois, Tennessee-Martin, Tusculum University, and Aurora University, among others.

But weeks before the start of his senior season, an unfortunate sequence of events transpired during a scrimmage game.

While making a routine tackle, Cook, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound safety made a routine tackle and landed awkwardly on the surface. He lay motionless on the ground for approximately 20 to 30 minutes before what was a stunned CBHS sideline as trainers tended to him.

“One of the trainers asked if I was okay,” Cook told MemphiSport during a recent interview.

For a while, all seemed well for Cook, who managed to walk off the field unassisted. However, after team doctors draped ice packs over his neck, bad news would ensue. After undergoing an MRI and CAT scan the next day, it was revealed that Cook had broken his neck in three places, news that sent shocks waves throughout the CBHS athletic department, a development that effectively ended his playing career.

For the 18 year-old Cook, who will be graduating next month, the news of his career-ending injury was difficult to stomach for someone who clung to lofty aspirations of playing college football.

STAR WATCH --- Cook's heroics on the field generated an array of interest from areas colleges before his career-ending neck injury.

STAR WATCH — Cook’s heroics on the field generated an array of interest from areas colleges before his career-ending neck injury.

“I didn’t even know my neck was broken at the time,” Cook explained. “I thought it was a stinger. You know how you get a stinger in your arm? So I just stood on the sideline and watched the scrimmage. But I got a little worried. My neck wasn’t supposed to feel like this.”

Said Cook’s mother, Lakina Sidney, regarding his  injury: “It was a mother’s intuition that I knew something was wrong with him. I insisited that they not put him in the game.”

As Cook recalls, he’s fortunate he chose not to resume playing after the unlikely tackle.

“I probably wouldn’t be here right now,” he said. “To me, I think they were trying to say it in a nice way. I think it’s hard for a doctor to tell you that you can’t do something you love. It hurt. I cried. I was like, ‘Why me? What did I do?’ It was my time to shine. I didn’t have to compete for a job. Then I broke my neck before my first game (as a senior). I didn’t even get to set foot under the lights.”

With his football career all but a distant memory, Cook wore a neck brace for roughly five months. Still, after reality had set in, he was determined not to allow his emotions to consume him.

In other words, Cook was a fixture at CBHS’s games, doing everything from inspiring his teammates to assuming the role as he describes as a “player coach” from the sideline.

“I mean, I’ve been with them for four years,” Cook said. “I didn’t want to give up because I broke my neck.”

Lakina Sidney was amazed at how her son, who had huge aspiration of playing college football, overcame the odds and has emerged as a rising entreprenuer as young graphic designer.

Lakina Sidney was amazed at how her son, who had huge aspiration of playing college football, overcame the odds and has emerged as a rising entreprenuer as young graphic designer.

With strong support from his family, teammates, and the CBHS community, Cook managed to come to grips during arguably his most challenging encounter of his young life. Although the possibilty exist he will never play football again, college, according to him, is a foregone conclusion.

“Basically, he was worried that he wasn’t going to play (football) anymore,” said Lakina Sidney, Cook’s mother. “(Doctors) said he should consider playing a less-impact sport. We cried together. But I’ve always instilled in Cameron that what God has for him, it’s for him.”

Sidney’s son will enroll this fall at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and plans to major in Civil Engineering with a minor in Graphic Design. For Cook, he has already proven to have found his niche as flourishing graphic designer, a craft he embraced when he was 10 years old with the help of his uncle, Reggie Sims.

Cook owns ICAM Graphic Designs and is considered one of the most popular high school promoters in Memphis and the surrounding areas.

“My uncle is an artist,” Cook said. “He’s not just a graphic designer. I watched him design things on the computer and I just took it and ran with it, and my skills have gotten much better.”

Luckily for Cook, whom his mother describes a “resilient child,” life, as he knows it, couldn’t be any better for someone who’s destined to have a bright future.

Never mind that his cleats, shoulder pads, and helmet are hung up for good.

Among Cook's projects as a graphic designer was the cover of CBHS's latest yearbook for the Class of 2014.

Among Cook’s projects as a graphic designer was the cover of CBHS’s latest yearbook for the Class of 2014.

“I couldn’t be more proud of how he’s handled the adverse situations on and off the field,” said Patrick Cook, Cameron’s father.

Cameron, meanwhile, admittedly accepts the fact that he has likely played his last competitive football game.

“I think I’m blessed,” Cook said with a smile. “Like I said, I could be dead, sitting in a wheelchair, or paralyzed from the neck down. I wished (the injury) wouldn’t have happened. But it could have been worse.”

Spoken like someone who has embraced the real meaning of life.

Wholeheartedly.

Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. To reach Johnson, email him at andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.