Hawkeye film room: There's some Dillon Doyle in Iowa LB recruit Jestin Jacobs
The Hawkeyes received their eighth 2019 football commitment on Friday in Jestin Jacobs, a rangy linebacker from Clayton, Ohio.
Jacobs, who checks in at 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, plays at Northmont High, where he recorded 74 tackles, four sacks, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, six pass breakups, an interception and a blocked field goal this past season. He's one of the hotter names in the Midwest right now, as he recently impressed at Nike's The Opening regional in Canton, Ohio.
The 247Sports Composite gives Jacobs three stars and ranks him the No. 32 outside linebacker in the class. Rivals also gives Jacobs three stars and ranks him the class' No. 18 outside linebacker.
Let’s take a closer look at what makes Jacobs stand out in this HawkCentral film room session.
Jacobs is a Division I tackler, plain the simple. You can see it right away in the first clip: He rushes off the edge from his outside linebacker position, takes a good angle, lowers his shoulder right before contact and combines his speed and power for thudding momentum — which knocks the ball free for one of his four forced fumbles. He actually knocks the ball free constantly throughout his film package. That's not an accident. Jacobs has an eye for the ball and the hand-eye coordination to poke it free at game speed. His sound tackling fundamentals — shoulders parallel to ball-carrier, rising up through the contact — are fun to watch.
Iowa relies on its linebackers plenty in pass coverage, and Jacobs has tools for success in that category. There's an example right away at the 0:18 mark: From his OLB position, Jacobs fakes coverage of the slot receiver, lets that receiver pass him to be defended by his safety and cornerback teammates, then jumps in front of a hitch-route pass to the outside receiver for an interception. Jacobs teased the opposing quarterback into throwing to the outside target when he faked coverage of the slot guy. Jacobs demonstrated solid pass coverage lining up as a cornerback or from his traditional OLB position. He tracks receivers well and times hits to break up passes as they arrive. He even lines up at safety in what looks like a prevent defense at 3:30; he reads the quarterback, reacts quickly to the pass and smacks the ball free with a big hit.
There's a little bit of current Hawkeye Dillon Doyle in Jacobs. And no, not just because they both ended their junior seasons of high school at 6-3 and 210 pounds. The similarity really comes through in Jacobs' speed and ball pursuit. One example in particular: At 3:40, Jacobs gets pulled away from the play and the opposing running back breaks free from the defense about 10 yards to Jacobs' left; Jacobs, who is now behind the play along with his safety, out-sprints everyone on the field and tracks down the running back to prevent a touchdown. I saw Doyle do almost the exact same thing last season against Cedar Rapids Prairie — and I mean exact same thing. You can see Jacobs track down another play from behind at 3:05, this time forcing the opposing running back out of bounds after he ran toward the opposite side of the field as Jacobs. At 2:55, the opposing offense again rushes the opposite away of Jacobs; he gets briefly stopped by a blocker but doesn't give up on the play, eventually gets the running back from behind and forces a fumble.
Matthew Bain covers college football and basketball recruiting for the Des Moines Register. He also helps out with Iowa and Iowa State football and basketball coverage for HawkCentral and Cyclone Insider. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.