After completing an injury-plagued senior season and coming up a bit short in the classroom, Levern Jacobs headed to Milford Academy in August for a post-grad year. Less than five months later, the former Suitland star is headed back to Prince George's County.
Jacobs, a 5-foot-11, 175-pound wide receiver, committed to Maryland on Wednesday. Suitland coach Ed Shields said his former player will start classes in College Park this month.
"This is a hard-working, stand-up kid," Shields said. "He's definitely a good athlete and a better person that I think will do very well at Maryland. … He's going to be exciting and I think the fans are going to like him."
Jacobs had a big junior season in 2009, teaming with Maryland cornerback Jeremiah Johnson to propel the Rams to a 9-2 season and the Class 4A South semifinals. Early in his senior year, Jacobs, who was once committed to Marshall, tore a meniscus in his knee. After the injury, Shields said Jacobs' impressive work ethic was on display.
"He worked so hard to come back and to still make himself the player that he was," Shields said. "He was out there working out when he came back. His brother looked and said, 'I don't know how he worked out after that.' His brother was already on the team, in 10th grade. I think he's picked it up from Vern."
Taivon Jacobs, who's two years younger than Levern, already claims a Maryland offer and could be one of the state's top senior prospects next fall. Shields said the elder Jacobs "inspired his brother to work just as hard and become the person he is."
Shields isn't entirely sure of the role Jacobs will play for the Terps, but versatility is a definite strength of the three-star prospect, who Rivals.com ranks the No. 20 prep school player in the country.
"He can go deep or go short and take it the distance," Shields said. "He goes across the middle. He can run any route. I think that's probably what made him appealing for some schools, and now Maryland. It's just his ability to run any route. He works on his routes. He was always fast. When he was younger he was just fast and always ran by you. Then he worked on his routes and that helped him become a dynamite receiver."
There's little doubt in Shields' mind that Jacobs will eventually make an impact for the Terps. The Suitland coach still looks to Jacobs as a model for his younger players.
"If I can get everybody on my football team in any year to work as hard as he does in getting better, we'll be state champs."