FAYETTEVILLE — Senior cornerback Jerry Jacobs opted to leave Arkansas State at midterm and become a grad transfer at the University of Arkansas.
Jacobs, 5-11, 203, is from Atlanta (Ga.) South Cobb High School, but had ties to Arkansas’ Rion Rhoades who was his head coach at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College. Jacobs redshirted one year with Rhoades at Hutchinson then played a season before transferring to Arkansas State.
Jacobs is currently running first-team cornerback with the Hogs. Following Tuesday’s practice, Jacobs was asked how the transition to Arkansas has been?
“The transition’s been good,” Jacobs said. “Ever since I came here Coach (Sam) Pittman, Coach (Barry) Odom and Coach Sam Carter have really made me go in the right direction giving me good tips on what I can work on and stuff like to help my draft stock go up. I’ve been making a lot of plays. I can’t tell you the coverages but I’ve been making a lot of plays at boundary and stuff like that. I’ve just got to keep going. I’ve been making plays in man as well.”
Jacobs also talked about why he left Jonesboro to head to Fayetteville.
“”I actually transferred because it was a great opportunity,” Jacobs said. “You know, Coach Pittman. I first talked to Coach Rion Rhoades. That was my head coach in JUCO. So, I wanted to go to something bigger, playing in the SEC. I always wanted to play in the SEC. So, once I talked to him, he said he had a scholarship offer for me. Man, I kicked down the door. I got in here. I came in as quick as I can. I’m ready to play.”
Despite leaving Arkansas State, Jacobs had nothing but respect for coach Blake Anderson and what he went through with the loss of wife’s battle with cancer.
“It was sad watching him go through that,” Jacobs said. “That was my best friend. Like a father to me at Arkansas State. So seeing him going through that then coming back and being with the team was like just crazy. He just showed his motivation and how much he loved the team. Like once he did that he just became like an awesome person. I love that dude and we still talk to this day even though I came here. He helped me out a lot in life.”
Jacobs likes what the secondary is doing in practice and how it’s shaping up to this point.
“As a group, I feel like we’re coming together,” Jacobs said. “The first group, the second group, all of us is coming together. We actually on the same page. So, being with a secondary like this, not throwing shade at A-State, but communication plays a major role when it comes to being a great secondary. So, being out there with Myles Mason, Joe Foucha, and Montaric Brown and Greg Brooks, we’re all on the same page. We all got the same drive to go. So, they’re a great secondary. We’re going to shock the world this year.”
With Jacobs and Brown running first team at the cornerbacks who is playing field and boundary?
“I’m really rotating,” Jacobs said. “I go back and forth, but I’ve been working on my field corner. Because I was a boundary corner last year. Everybody knows I can play boundary. So, I’ve been trying to get in the field, get a lot of space, and work on my technique. So, I’ve been field corner right now. And last week I was running with the ones and I’m doing good.”
So you and Brown are flipping sides some?
“Yeah, we flip back and forth every now and then, but mostly we really — I ain’t going to lie,” Jacobs said. “Because with me and Montaric Brown, I just try to feel like if he play his side and he can shut his side down and I can shut my side down, ain’t no point in keep rotating. So, sometimes we just stay on each other’s side. But each of us, like today, I flipped sides.”
What has impressed you about Brooks at the nickel?
“When I got here just seeing the dude, I was competing with him, but just seeing the dude, his work ethic and just how he goes boosts me up,” Jacobs said. “Every day he makes me go harder. The dude is awesome. He has a drive for football so I know he is coming out this year with a lot in his bag. The dude is awesome. He’s a great dude. He keeps me going every day. We talk, communicate and that’s my guy.”
Jacobs talked about which skills that Brooks has that have impressed him the most.
“His feet,” Jacobs said. “He is smart and patient. He can cover and can play a lot of man on big dudes. You may think he’s short, but he can play a lot of man on big dudes. He can cover as well. He can get off blocks too. He sheds blocks awesome. He’s one of a kind when it comes to shedding blocks. He’s a great ball player as well.”
Arkansas’ defense with Odom could be a much improved unit. They have added three grad transfers who are making a case for starting. Jacobs, defensive tackle Xavier Kelly and linebacker Levi Draper. Jacobs likes what he has seen from the defense including junior college transfer Julius Coates at end.
“The whole defense has been making plays starting with Julius Coates and Dorian Gerald,” Jacobs said. “Just having them starting there at the defensive line. They get to the quarterback pretty good. Just having them rush the quarterback helps me out a lot. The back end as well. Communication, Gregory Brooks, Montaric Brown, Myles Mason and guys like that just keep me going as well. We just play on the same level.”
Last season, Jacobs’ season came to an abrupt end against Georgia in a 55-0 loss. Oddly enough now Jacobs first game at Arkansas will also be against Georgia on Sept. 26. Jacobs talked about his reaction to the Bulldogs coming to Fayetteville.
“Man I got so happy,” Jacobs said. “I had to check. I heard it from one of my teammates. But I had to just go make sure it was right. When I heard we’ve got them the first game I got pumped. I haven’t finished off what I started when I played them last year when I got hurt. So I’m ready to show those guys what I’ve got.”
Jacobs also was asked who at wide receiver has impressed him?
“Me and Mike Woods go at it,” Jacobs said. “No. 8, I guard him a lot. I just actually got over there with Trey Knox not too long ago and yesterday. He showed me some little stuff I need to work on as well. The whole receiving corp, I go against a lot of dudes, but Mike Woods is the main dude I go against. He keeps giving me work every day.”
Tuesday was the first day in pads. Jacobs talked about who caught his attention with their hits and tackling.
“Man, a lot of dudes showed up,” Jacobs said. “It showed a lot of ball players. One dude that came standing out to me was Myles Mason just because he told Coach, like, ‘When the pads come on,’ and Joe Foucha. When those guys are coming down from safety, coming down making big plays, making big hits, wrapping up, they showing me that they can play. So, Joe Foucha and Myles Mason. They shocked me today.”
Pittman added another name to the impressive performers from Tuesday’s practice.
“Jerry Jacobs had a wonderful practice today,” Pittman said. “He was all over the field.”
Arkansas will return to the practice fields today with it completely closed and no media access during or after. The first scrimmage will be on Friday and it too will be closed. There will be interviews with the media afterward.