Jacobe Covington is not common.
And that applies both to his skill and his circumstances.
Let’s start with the latter. On Aug. 17, Covington — a 6-foot-1, 193-pound cornerback from Scottsdale (Ariz.) Saguaro High School — verbally committed to Washington. Nearly two months later, on Oct. 15, he rescinded that pledge and reopened his recruitment.
But here we are, in the final sprint to early signing day, and the Huskies have pulled ahead. On Dec. 2, Covington — a four-star corner, per 247Sports.com — announced (with the help of several ominous emojis) that he will sign with a school Wednesday. And despite offers from Arizona State, USC, Oklahoma, LSU, Michigan, Oregon, Penn State and more, he reaffirmed his pledge to the Huskies on Saturday.
Covington’s recommitment to Washington is another significant recruiting win for soon-to-be Husky coach Jimmy Lake.
It’s also an anomaly.
“It’s very rare (for a player to re-commit). It’s not common,” 247Sports.com national recruiting editor Brandon Huffman said this week. “More often than not, when you see a kid de-commit and then recommit to that school, he’s a local kid. You’ll see a kid who committed to the local school, got allured by the national schools, but then ultimately he decided he didn’t want to leave. He didn’t want to go far away, and he ends up signing with the local school.
“So what Washington’s been able to do, assuming they end up signing him, is held off that charge from Arizona State.”
And that, in itself, is an accomplishment. Consider that 1. Arizona State is the local school, located roughly eight miles from Saguaro, and 2. the Sun Devils closed a 7-5 regular season with an upset stunner over Oregon and a rivalry win over Arizona. There’s speculation that Herm Edwards and Co. may flip four-star wide receiver and Oregon commit Johnny Wilson as well.
The competition for Covington’s signature has been substantial, to say the least.
Which makes UW’s reemergence all the more impressive.
“ASU has been trying to build a bridge to Saguaro forever,” Huffman said. “If Washington can hold them off a second time, I think that’s significant, because ASU had all kinds of momentum down the stretch. They may flip a few more guys.
“So if Washington is ultimately able to get Covington that might be as significant a recruiting win, outside of (five-star Kennedy Catholic outside linebacker) Sav’ell Smalls, as anyone in this class.”
Which brings us to his skill set. Covington is ranked as a four-star recruit, the No. 13 corner and the No. 182 overall prospect in his class by the 247Sports Composite. In 12 games at Saguaro in his senior season, Covington compiled 30 tackles, 12 passes defended, five tackles for loss, three sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, one pick-six, one blocked field goal and one blocked punt.
He can play corner. He can play safety. He can play nickel.
And at Saguaro — also the alma mater of former Husky corner and current Arizona Cardinal Byron Murphy — Covington had to prove it.
“I think one of the things that he’s got going for him is, he’s been tested,” Huffman said. “When you’ve got (five-star 2020 corner) Kelee Ringo on the opposite side of you, with the attention that he’s gotten over the past couple years, I think more and more schools and more offenses are testing Jacobe.
“I think he could be a safety at the next level — with his size, with his ball skills, with his ability to close. I think he’s the most versatile DB in the state of Arizona. You look at (four-star Ohio State commit) Lathan Ransom, and I think he’s 100% a safety. Kelee Ringo is 100% a corner. I think Covington could be a multiyear starter in the Pac-12 at either spot, and I think that’s one of the things Jimmy Lake really likes in his DBs.
“They can play a number of spots and they’ve got that positional versatility, where no matter what kind of offense you’re going up against … you can put him out on an island, you can put him in the back end, you can put him at nickel and he’s going to be able to lock up the receiver opposite him.”
Covington can do all three, and that makes him decidedly uncommon. And, come Wednesday, he’ll finally, officially be a Dawg.