Heading into a brand new environment is always a challenge, but to Savon Jacobs it is just another stepping stone on the path of a career. Jacobs, like many under-the-radar college football players have rode through the junior college pipeline to garner more exposure and eventually lure in the big-time programs.
Jacobs’ meandering journey started out as a standout defensive tackle out of Harlem, New York, where he attended Mount St. Michael Academy in the Bronx. Only after graduating in 2012, Jacobs left his home in eastern New York and headed down south to Jireh Prep in populated Monroe, North Carolina. Jireh Prep is built as a post-graduate school specifically tailored for previously high school talents to gain exposure at a more advanced level. In this case, the transition to a prep school fit right into Jacobs’ sight path.
Since Jireh Prep is a mere pit-stop for a collegiate destination, Jacobs only spent one full season there. The experience he learned at Jireh Prep helped guide him to earn an opportunity as a true freshman at Wagner College during the fall of 2013. Wagner, like many small, out-of-the way schools is located along the shores of State Island, NY.
As his first year at Wagner wore on, Jacobs’ success as an interior lineman grew even during intermittent playing time. Overall, through the course of five games; Jacobs tallied 20 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, and 1 sack. Seemingly, while Jacobs earned occasional work on defense, he felt that his sights on becoming a big name prospect would take more time than expected.
So yet again, the ability to adapt to change on-the-go was needed at the biggest moment. Despite transitioning to a much quicker pace than he was formerly used to, Jacobs transferred out of Wagner after just one full season. This left numerous options for Jacobs to look into. One being; carry over his somewhat quality experience to the FCS setting, or possibly moving to a program that best fits his needs locally.
The decision to enroll at Jersey Coast Academy (JCA) last fall was bold; but in little time, the impact Jacobs made on the football field was compelling. After taking a less-extended role while at Wagner. The numbers Jacobs put up at JCA told the story of the improvement he made during the off-season. Through nine games as a starter, Jacobs tripled his tackles from 20 to 68. Not only did his closing speed in space improve as a defender, but his production on getting to the quarterback soar as well. In total, Jacobs accumulated 12 sacks and 12 tackles for loss last year, an immediate advancement to what he amassed back in 2013.
Similar to the breakdown at Jireh Prep, Jersey Coast Academy is only at most a two-year school. With Jacobs’ production growing after his first year, it was only a matter of time for more well-known colleges to give him a shot. So, once several weeks past after the end of JCA’s season, Jacobs accepted the offer to enroll at Elon University. At this point this had become the biggest of all opportunities Jacobs was faced with as a football player. Even though Jacobs stay at Elon was short-lived, by moving back home to be closer to family months after. It is easy to sense that Jacobs is gracious to where his career has ended up.
“For me to experience Wagner and then at the JUCO level, really provided stability for my football career.” Jacobs said when asked about the different routes he’s taken in college.
Much of the success he acquired while at the Junior College environment, for instance at Jersey Coast Academy, has finally shaped up to the pinnacle of his career that’s still in the process. Jacobs isn’t at all hesitant of thanking the programs that he’s been with that took him in early on, especially Jersey Coast Academy.
“JCA is a JUCO program that will evolve into a powerhouse soon enough, I loved it there and can’t wait to see their progress”.
For now, Jacobs latest resort along his collegiate carousel, may indeed be his proudest moment. Recently, after transferring out of Elon, Jacobs monumental accomplishment and ultimate goal is starting to turn into a reality now that he will enroll at Syracuse this upcoming spring. The transition from junior college onto the big-time FBS stage will be the ultimate challenge for Jacobs to overcome. Although, before he sets foot on the practice field next semester, Syracuse’s biggest need, which relies along the offensive line will already be met once Jacobs starts practicing.
In many ways, the move could work out greatly in Jacobs favor. Jacobs can use what he has previously learned while at Wagner and JCA to perhaps establish a role for himself later on. The need of an interior offensive lineman suites Jacobs skill-set perfectly. Regularly used as a defensive tackle at junior college, his persistence to the ball was a sole reason why his progress skyrocketed with a second year of experience under his belt.
Jacobs is listed at 6’1” and 315 pounds and trying to fit into a significant portion of Syracuse’s depth chart will be vital for playing time.
In order for him to avoid sitting out a year and losing rhythm. Jacobs will spend just one semester at Dean College during the fall semester. The main goal will be to stay active and earn a sense of familiarity that will help him create exposure at Syracuse.
Savon Jacobs’ path as a college athlete has definitely been an unexpected one. Through learning curves mixed in with contrasting environments. But Jacobs is still here to finish out his goal of one day seeing the field at the professional level. Now, with the recent move of committing to Syracuse, this will hopefully build a connection to the coaching staff and earn a sizable reputation.
After all, Jacobs only needs one chance to showcase his skills, and for this matter the opportunity he will now encounter at Syracuse will be the biggest one he takes on.