Written by Ryan Wright
In more ways than one, the 2020 season for Jake Schakel was a great success. The Class of 2024 quarterback took over the Emerald Ridge High School starting job as a freshman completing 66 of 107 passes for 740 yards with 10 touchdowns against just one interception. Those four starts during the Jaguars’ 3-3 season have shown college programs the track he is on with offers dropped by Florida Atlantic and Nevada.
After a busy summer filled with college football camps, the 6-1, 185-pound, gunslinger is on dozens of recruiting boards with two more opportunities to impress at camps this week heading to Penn State and West Virginia.
In an RNG first-look interview partnered with QB Hit List, the rising Washington state prospect updates us on his workouts, camps, and recruiting.
Jake, you were one of those rare freshmen to get the starting varsity nod. So much had to be coming at you during the 2020 season. What were some of the key things you had to adapt to on the field to be successful?
From junior high and middle school football to playing against kids way older was harder, I trained and lifted extra hard to be as big and as fast as the varsity players. The mental piece came by studying the playbook. My dad is the head coach; I watch hours of film. The mental and physical piece were extreme measures going into my freshman year.
With that experience, how has that helped you with your offseason workouts?
Now I know what I need to work on for the varsity level. I spent more time working on things I hadn’t before. I have been working with a quarterback trainer and lifting at a facility. This offseason I have been learning new drills and which muscles I need to focus on when I am lifting.
What have you been doing to improve upon your footwork this spring and summer?
Training with my quarterback coach and also going to FSP. Tracy Ford at FSP has been helping me. I go there five times a week. At FSP, the first half of my workout is speed and agility.
And what about with your throwing motion and/or release? Have you been tweaking or fine-tuning anything there?
I have been working with my QB trainer, watching videos of my throwing motion from being on the field, and analyzing what I can improve upon. I have seen a lot of improvement. My spiral is tighter and I have more velocity. I have improved on that for sure.
A couple of minutes ago you mentioned watching a lot of film to help with the mental aspect of the game. What have you been doing this summer to further expand your football IQ and to help better understand defenses?
I have been watching a lot of film, going to the field throwing with my teammates, learning from them, the routes they like, where they like the ball placement, reading defenses, watching YouTube videos, Cover 4 beaters, cover beaters – all of that.
What style of offense are you guys running this fall?
We are transitioning from a Spread to an Air Raid. We will throw a lot. It will be fun. We are receiver heavy.
What are some of the routes you will be throwing to in the new offense?
We run a lot of concepts, a lot of crossing routes, deep routes like posts and streaks – all the things quarterbacks love. We have deep throws and short routes with quick receivers we want to get the ball to at any point and let them run. 3-Star (2022) receiver Denzel Boston, he’s one of the best in the state. He will get a lot of targets this year.
What goals have you set for the 2021 season?
My individual goals, it is more about winning as many games as possible. We have big goals as a team; we want to win league and a state championship. For individual goals, having a better-than-expected touchdown to interception ratio and a high competition percentage. Those are the main things, complete at a high rate, not turn it over, and a state championship.
If you hit all three of those goals, you will have a fantastic season. That’s what you want.
Did you sling it at any college camps this summer?
Yes, I went to a few. I went to a camp in Dallas, the SMU Mega Camp. There were over 400 coaches there. We went to a Nevada camp; I got the offer there. FSP, they took me and some of my teammates to Texas. We toured and camped at Texas, Texas A&M, and TCU. I also went to a Washington football camp.
My high school just went to a Washington State 7v7 tournament for high schools only. I am going to Penn State and West Virginia this week. I am excited for those two camps.
The Nevada camp, what did you showcase there to earn the big offer?
Going into the camp, they saw my film. FSP helped connect me with them. They knew of me, liked how I threw. I threw well at that camp. I liked all the coaches; met all of them and made sure to standout by my throwing and by being a great person and leader. During the camp, I was writing down notes and being a QB at that camp.
The Texas A&M camp is another big one. How did that one go for you?
It was one of the coolest campuses I have seen. Their offensive analyst played with my dad in high school. He knew me and my dad; it was a really cool experience. I had never been to an SEC school before. I saw the facilities. The camp was great. It was really hot down there, but it was a cool experience.
Which schools are showing interest ahead of the season?
Some schools are following me on Twitter. I know Penn State is showing interest. Their offensive coordinator and QB coach are following me. I am excited going to their camp. Washington is showing interest. A lot of their coaches are talking to me. Oregon is too. Coach Mario Cristobal (head coach) follows me on Twitter. Utah is too. There are more, but those are the ones I can think of right now.
Which schools have offered?
FAU and I have the one from Neveda.
Penn State and West Virginia are on the schedule, do you have any other visits coming up?
I hope to take an unofficial to Nevada for a game. I might go to a couple local schools like Washington. Washington is only about 30 to 40 minutes from home.
Jake, thank you for your time today. Wishing you great camps at Penn State and West Virginia this week.
Yes, sir. Thank you.
Photo credit: Schakel family; Jake Schakel
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