The young man is already a freak of an athlete.
That statement applies to five-star prospect JaCoby Stevens. Watch the video above and find all the proof you need. He recently placed UGA and LSU as his top two schools.
Stevens, who hails from Murfreesboro in Tennessee, soared 11 feet, four inches in a recent standing broad jump. Is that a big deal? Consider the following:
- The nation’s No. 1 athlete vaulted farther with that effort than any NFL prospect did at the 2016 combine.
- The Oakland High School star wears a size 14 shoe. That’s not exactly ideal aerodynamics to fly high and far.
- Was that his personal best? The result of weeks of intensive training that would make even Batman (check out those cleats) sweat? Nah. “That was my first time trying it,” Stevens said. Simply put, he’d never practiced or trained for the standing broad jump before. That’s all raw talent and explosiveness there.
The five-star recruit and nation’s No. 1 athlete from Tennessee has UGA as his leader right now. Someone holding an iPhone inside the Butts-Mehre facility at UGA is probably first-pumping like a contender at the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club this week at the sight of this video.
Stevens combines all that athleticism with on-field production.
“A lot of people get all this hype and publicity because of how good they run around a cone or how high they jump,” Oakland High School coach Kevin Creasy said. “This dude has tremendous ball skills. What he can do without a ball is just as impressive. He’s physical and is a headhunter on defense at safety. That’s just as impressive as all those physical attributes that show up so fast for him.”
His best game last fall came when he was thrust into two new roles against the school’s main rival. He lined up as a nickel safety and also served as the “Wildcat” quarterback on offense. Oakland won and Stevens made impact plays on both sides of the ball. He picked off a ball late in the game and returned it for a touchdown to seal the victory.
“Lots of coaches call their talented players a playmaker,” Creasy said. “Not this guy. He’s not just a playmaker for us. He’s a difference maker.”
What is he really like? Clairvoyant might be the term.
“He is kind of on a different level,” Creasy said. “He does things kind of different. He’s a guy who walks to his own beat. He’s unique and you may go a whole career without coaching somebody like him. He’s different and that may set him apart from other just talented players.”
Creasy made a point to consider how he would handle some true national spotlight on his football ability when he was 17 years old.
“You ask yourself if you would have handled it the way he handles it,” he said. “Would you handle it better or worse? Most of his coaches here feel he handles it a whole lot better than we would when we were 17 years old. A lot of players at such a young age get caught up in all that stuff. Luckily as of right now he’s not caught up in it and we’re glad. A lot of time we are reading all these articles on him and he talks about our team more than it being just about all him.”
G-Day, Georgia’s annual spring football scrimmage, is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 16, at Sanford Stadium. Check back here daily for DawgNation’s G-Day coverage brought to you by Georgia United Credit Union.
Jeff Sentell covers UGA football and UGA recruiting for AJC.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges. Unless otherwise indicated, player rankings and ratings are from the 247Sports Composite.