<
>
Insider

Ducks' OL commit Pisarcik a perfect fit

Following college football recruiting can be one of the most mind-bending activities for someone to partake in. For every high school All-American like De'Anthony Thomas, there is thousands of Jake Pisarcik's.

Thomas showed up in Eugene the final weekend before signing day in 2011 and put the recruiting world into a frenzy. After being committed to USC for nearly a year, Thomas shocked the world by flipping to Oregon on signing day.

On Tuesday, the unpredictability of recruiting showed itself again when Oregon Ducks gained their 12th commitment of their 2013 recruiting class. When OL Jake Pisarcik (Medford, NJ/Shawnee) committed to the Pac-12 power. With all due respect, Pisarcik is no De'Anthony Thomas. As one of the top recruits in the country, everyone knew who Thomas was. Pisarcik, well, he wasn't even listed as a prospect on a single recruiting website. In fact, his coach couldn't even convince Stony Brook to pull the trigger on an offer.

"Jake is a unique player in that he started at quarterback in eighth grade but his dad told me to put his hand on the ground," said Tim Gushue, Shawnee's longtime head coach. "He said 'That kid is gonna be too big' and that it would be to everyone's benefit if he learned to play along the line."

That started the evolution of the newest Oregon commit. Gushue made sure the coaches moved Pisarcik to tight end.

"He was 6-foot-1, 215-pounds as a 14-year old and we knew he would continue to grow" Gushue said. "He didn't move to offensive line until his senior season. We only did that because the kid gained fifty pounds before this season started.

"If it weren't for having known Chip Kelly from his days at New Hampshire, I'm not sure Jake would have had an opportunity like this. Once we put his film together, I figured we should send it to Chip because I've known him for a long time."

After sending the tape in less than two weeks ago, Gushue sent a couple follow-up emails to Kelly to get his thoughts on Pisarcik. It wasn't until George Martin, a former Ducks' star from the 1970's -- and former NY Giants' teammate of Jake's father, Joe -- vouched for Pisarcik that Kelly agreed to send Ducks' defensive line coach -- a native of the Northeast -- to New Jersey in order to scout the 6-foot-4, 280-pound Pisarcik.

"If not for George and my staff and I visiting Oregon's coaching clinic the last two years, Jake would probably still be in search of his first offer," Gushue said. "Coach [Azzinaro] came in and the first thing he said was, 'You're bigger than I thought. Do me a favor and don't get any bigger!' They loved what they saw on film and so [offensive line] coach [Steve] Greatwood called last week to follow up."

It wasn't until Tuesday that the Ducks' longtime offensive line coach -- who recruited and developed former two-star recruit and current NFL All-Pro Max Unger of the Seattle Seahawks -- reached out to Gushue and asked him to have Pisarcik give him a call.

"Jake called them and they told him they wanted him to be a Duck," Gushue said. "Apparently Jake gave him his commitment before he could finish his sentence. It's fair to say that Jake was a little excited."

While Pisarcik might not be a name that sends Oregon fans into a frenzy the way De'Anthony Thomas did, his untapped potential and athleticism make him the perfect student to learn under coach Greatwood, a former National Offensive Line Coach of the Year.

"He doesn't have the arms to play tackle, so they told him to come in and be ready to play guard or center. He can really get to the second level and lay a hat on linebackers and defensive backs," Gushue said.

Before the offer from the Ducks, only New Mexico State -- which was more of a favor to his father, who starred there in the 1970's -- Stony Brook, and Delaware had so much as sent Pisarcik a letter. Less than a week after his film was sent out, -- and less than a day after Oregon offered -- Rutgers, Penn State, Temple, Maryland, Boston College and Syracuse have all called Shawnee to inquire about Pisarcik.

"Jake is one of the most intriguing players I've had in my 36 years in coaching. He has no idea how good he can be but I think he found the perfect situation so that we can all see how far he takes this opportunity," Gushue said. " We run the same offense as Oregon and he'll do everything he can to prepare himself before he gets out to Eugene. Once he gets out here, he is a kid that is going to work his ass off the moment he steps on that campus."