Liberty DB Jax Stam Rides Family Trail as Prefered Walk-On at UArizona

One of the top defenders in Arizona is staying in-state to play at the next level.

Liberty High School four-year varsity starter, Jax Stam, has taken the opportunity to join the Arizona Wildcats as a preferred walk-on in hopes of later earning a scholarship. Stam was raised in a Wildcat family. His aunt graduated from the school and Stam has attended many games in Tucson part of the Wildcat environment.

“I’ve been growing up a Wildcat my whole life,” Stam said during his signing day special on PSBN. “I feel like I could go down there and really showcase my talents and just be able to work as hard as I can and play at the highest level next year.”

In each of his final three years of leading the varsity secondary, Stam posted triple-digit tackle totals while being the spark plug of the Lion defense. After a successful freshman campaign, the DB and safety added an extra wrinkle to his game in the pass rush. Stam collected another 17.5 TFL and six sacks in his final three years. The explosive defender would also tack on eight fumble causes and a pick-six against Chaparral in 2020 from his pressure.

Listed on MaxPreps in 2020 as just 5 feet 11 inches tall, Stam has been knocked as too short to play in the secondary at a high level. The recruiting notes have never bothered the four-year varsity starter.

“I’m not blessed with the most ‘measurables.’ I might not be the tallest, might not be the fastest, but I feel like if you outsmart and outwork everyone, you get one step ahead.”

Stam was a varsity starter in every game during his four years at Liberty. In his freshman season, Stam played alongside then-senior Ryan Puskas, who went on to play as a Cal Golden Bear the following year. Puskas was a standout for Liberty and considered one of the best Lions in program history. But even as a freshman, both Puskas and former head coach, Mark Smith, proclaimed Stam would surpass the footprint left by Puskas as one of the greatest Lions to step on a football field.

Ahead of Stam’s sophomore season, Coach Mark Smith returned to his alma mater in Washington, and offensive coordinator Colin Thomas took the reins of the Liberty program. Stam evolved into an excellent on-field coach and vocal leader on defense. Before the 2021 season kicked off, Thomas mentioned that Stam’s coaching ability deserved a stipend of his own for all the coaching he did on the field.

“He’s been everything we could ask for from a toughness standpoint, discipline standpoint, leadership, commitment, composure – he’s just been unreal,” Thomas said. “We’re so blessed that we had him and so thankful he gets an opportunity to move forward and show his talents at the next level.”

Stam would play opposite of some of the top quarterbacks in the state over his high school career such as Spencer Rattler, Jack Miller, J.D. Johnson, Mikey Keene, Brayten Silbor, Elijah Warner, and Blaine Hipa. In his four years at Liberty, Stam helped deliver the program’s first state championship in his 2019 sophomore season, defeating Red Mountain for the 6A Conference crown. He would then cap off his final two seasons in a pair of showdowns against Chandler in the 2020 and 2021 Open Division Semifinals.

The trip to Sun Devil Stadium for the state championship in 2019 was a special journey for Stam, earning a 6A state title as a starting sophomore.

“Playing in the 6A State Championship has to be a top-notch [memory], playing in Sun Devil Stadium that young and kind of seeing what it would be like at the next level – which I will be playing at in the future against [Arizona State],” Stam said.

His senior performance caught eyes across the state as he was awarded the 2021 National Football Foundation Valley of the Sun Chapter Mike Haynes Defensive Back of the Year award.

Stam had offers from Army, Georgetown, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania. Stam graduates from Liberty in May.