The way Myles Jack quickly became a force on the national recruiting stage shows how far he has come.
In the summer of 2011, Myles Jack returned to the Bellevue football program a bit bigger than when he left, but also a little out of shape.
Jack and his family had moved to Georgia not long after his sophomore season because of his mom’s job. But they returned at the beginning of his junior year after she took a job with Microsoft, reuniting Jack with his old team.
At the time, he was a physically gifted running back drawing interest from colleges and recruiting sites. But he wasn’t a can’t-miss prospect. In fact, he was considered a solid, but not program-changing, recruit.
ESPN.com and Rivals.com rated Jack as a three-star prospect heading into this season. Only Scout.com put four stars by his name, and even then, the site’s analysts generally viewed him on the low end of that group.
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All of which makes his rise this year even more jarring. Jack, the player who returned to Bellevue slightly out of shape and mildly touted, will leave the program as one of the nation’s best outside linebackers.
“I honestly think that people missed on him,” Bellevue coach Butch Goncharoff said. “In the national spotlight, people were like, ‘Yeah, we’ll keep an eye on him.’ But he really just emerged.”
Jack, who committed to UCLA, visited Washington this weekend and will travel to Florida State for his final visit next weekend. He has already visited Arizona State and Utah.
Scout.com analyst Brandon Huffman said all signs point to Jack signing with UCLA. But he also added: “You can’t count out the home team, although the difference with him is he’s not a Washington guy by birth.”
Jack set the tone for his breakout season by, as Goncharoff said, putting “both feet in” this offseason. At 17, Jack is young for his class and grew from a 6-foot, 175-pound sophomore to a 6-2, 225-pound force as a senior.
He set the tone, publicly, in Bellevue’s first game of the season — an overtime win against powerhouse Trinity from Euless, Texas. Against a team with at least four Division I college recruits, including one along the offensive line and two tight ends, Jack made an impact on both sides of the ball.
His play of record came in the fourth quarter, when he knocked out Trinity’s quarterback with a vicious (and clean) hit. He also led the Wolverines with 118 yards on just five carries.
“He really introduced himself that game,” said Huffman, who covers the West. “This wasn’t just a regional prospect. This was a national prospect.”
Jack had six sacks in the first half of a game but was also nimble enough to drop into coverage. Opposing coaches started scheming to avoid him. He dominated the game defensively in a way Goncharoff has never seen.
“He’s just a rare combination of size, speed and explosiveness,” Goncharoff said. “That’s what people don’t realize. A lot of guys are 6-3, 225 pounds. But his explosion is rare.”
Said Juanita coach Shaun Tarantola after facing Jack, “I’m looking at him, going, ‘If this guy’s not the best defensive player in the nation, I want to know who is.’ “
Jayson Jenks: 206-464-8277 or firstname.lastname@example.org