Ouachita head coach Jeff Fitzgerald thinks he has a gamer in his locker room in Dearrio “D.J.” Jacobs.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it’s a simple sports adjective that categorizes certain players who rise to the occasion in big games. As a wide receiver for the Lions, Jacobs has done that.
“We recognized (he was a gamer) late in the season during his sophomore year,” Fitzgerald said. “He made some big catches and had a really big game down at Terrebonne his sophomore year. It carried over into the spring and just kept going.”
Jacobs remembers that game well. Quarterback Zach Shaw found his rhythm in that 2018 contest and connected with the wideout for frequent first downs.
“I feel like that’s when I really showed the coaches what I could do,” said the senior receiver who is hovering around 6’0”, 205 pounds right now.
Jacobs’ next breakout game came in 2019 against Neville when he reeled in five catches for 98 yards and a score. That score, by the way, was a 66-yard reception that put Ouachita ahead of Neville, 35-31, with only two minutes to play. Neville mounted a last-second drive to ultimately beat Ouachita, but not before Jacobs brought the Ouachita faithful to their feet.
“That was a great player making a great play,” Fitzgerald said. “I hate the way it turned out, but that wasn’t the only time he made a big play like that. He did it a couple of times against Bastrop and Haughton.”
Jacobs finished the season last year with 29 catches for 313 yards and four touchdowns. Jacobs, along with fellow seniors Jacolby Conner and Brandon Kimes figure to give defenses nightmares on the outside.
With Shaw returning for his senior year after serving as the starting quarterback for multiple seasons, Ouachita’s offense is coming together rather nicely ahead of the 2020 season. And Jacobs knows it.
“We have that connection,” Jacobs said. “We should be good to go.”
And that’s considering the limitations the pandemic have provided this offseason. Gov. John Bel Edwards extended Phase 2 to Aug. 7.
That won’t discourage the Lions, though. Not with the weapons and experience they have returning.
“Those guys returning, that’s a really good receiving corps we’ve got coming back,” Fitzgerald said. “The thing is you can’t game plan for one dude.”
Jacobs, whose favorite receiver is former Alabama stud Jerry Jeudy, is garnering a lot of attention from colleges this offseason. Though he’s still waiting on his first offer, he gets letters from several colleges consistently. Ole Miss has been one of the schools that has talked to Jacobs the most, the senior said.
If that wasn’t a good enough incentive to put in the work this off-season, the competition that awaits him in District 2-5A certainly is.
West Monroe still hasn’t lost a district game since 2002, Alexandria is coming off of a season where the Trojans earned a No. 3 seed and Ruston is coming off of a quarterfinal appearance. Jacobs loves the challenge, and whether the season gets postponed or not, he’ll be ready to chase that district title when the time comes.
“Coach always told us no matter what the outcome is to just keep working,” Jacobs said. “That’s what I try my best to do. Just keep working. I would rather work and not have a season than not work and be behind when the season starts.”
When Ouachita steps back on the football field in the near future, fans will see a dangerous pass-catching team that’s put in the work this offseason. And Jacobs can’t wait for fans to see it.