Once “Breakout Prospects” Beginning to Breakout

Arizona Sports News online

My extra points blog is a periodic Arizona high school football notes column of things that catch my eye. Here are a few things that have jumped off the page for me this week.

First offers for two Rattlers: North Canyon may have had their struggles over the last couple of seasons on Friday nights but that does not mean they are short on talent. In 2013, they had one of the most gifted all-around athletes I’ve ever seen in person in this state in Bryant O’Georgia who now has NAU faithful very excited about his future. This week, two guys who have been under the radar received their first offers and they both came from Pac-12 schools.

First on Monday afternoon, Washington State offered talented North Canyon athlete Jon Okwoli. At receiver last season, he had over 1400 yards receiving and 10 receiving touchdowns. He was also a defensive standout with close to 50 total tackles and two interceptions, one of which he returned for a score, and he also returned a kick-off for score as well. I said after last season that Okwoli was one of the best athletes in the state without an offer. That has changed and we haven’t hit spring ball yet.

On Tuesday, the first in what looks to be many offers came down for 2017 offensive tackle Austin Jackson. The 6-6, 255 pound lineman got his first offer from Arizona State. Could be big going forward for the Devils being the first because from what I am hearing, he will have multiple by the end of spring ball from Pac-12 level schools. Jackson’s future may be on the offensive line but he has a presence on the d-line as well. As a sophomore last season he had five sacks for the Rattlers. Jackson joins Kayden Lyles at Saguaro as the most sought after 2017 offensive lineman in the state to this point.

Burke Gets First: Anything that Coach Steve Belles and the Hamilton coaching staff asked of Kyeler Burke in 2014, Burke did. Receiving, rushing, kick returns, you name it. Burke was one of the best athletes on the field in each of every game that he played last season for the Huskies and is just a flat football player. On Tuesday, he also received his first scholarship offer which was from South Dakota State. This could also be the first of many coming in, especially when spring evaluation begins and they mix his incredible junior film with what skills he will show off during the spring and in passing league.

Don’t let Size Fool You: This last player I want to mention did not receive on offer but since one of my diamonds in the rough (Jon Okwoli) is now on people’s radars, I want to focus on another player who really jumped off the page for him in 2014 and I believe has a lot of upside. Liberty wide receiver Alex Jackson was one of the top targets for Tyler Wyatt in the Lions’ run to their first ever state title. Jackson I am sure is being told he is too small as he is listed at 5-9 on a roster. But here are the facts, Jackson grew about three inches between his sophomore and junior seasons and he is not done yet. How many people do you know that are sub six feet tall but wear a size 13 shoe? Jackson is, he also has big hands and long arms for his size. His did is in the 6-4, 6-5 range which is another indication that another growth spirt could be in the future. With all this being said, Jackson at 5-9 was one of the better playmakers in Arizona last season. Even if he doesn’t grow, he is a player that could make an impact at the next level. Growing should just put the cherry on top.