Jake Pisarcik: The “High School Football ‘Rocky'”

Laura Brehm FishWrap, FishWrap Archive 4 Comments

You may recognize this six-foot-four, 278-pound redshirt freshman’s surname if you’re an avid Eagles and/or Giants fan. NFL quarterback Joe Pisarcik’s – most infamously known for “The Miracle at the Meadowland” (if you’re on the Eagles’ side) — youngest son is this relatively unknown recruit.

Jake Pisarcik wasn’t a guy on a lot of college radars. Sure, he attended camps and sent in tapes, but he was ignored by coaches and those tapes went unwatched. The problem was, Pisarcik was a late bloomer. While most star players had been pegged from an early stage, he didn’t start on his varsity team until his junior year. But those final two years were when he went from unrated to shamefully underrated.

Pisarcik decided against following too closely in his father’s footsteps. He played with the big guys on the field, swapping between offensive guard and defensive tackle early in his career. The First-Team All-Burlington County plaudit started for the Shawnee Renegades as a defensive end and tight end. During the recruitment period, Pisarcik went through some major changes that appeared to go unnoticed. He grew three inches, gained 50 pounds and started benching 400 pounds.

Preparing to further his football career, Pisarcik sent tapes out to a bunch of colleges. Only one responded with an offer: Oregon. Renegade coach Tim Gushue told Marc Narducci of Philly.com that Oregon’s interest spurred from Pisarcik’s speed. Gushue stated: “Many of [Oregon’s] offensive linemen are former tight ends, and you have to really run to play in that offense.” With Oregon’s lightening fast speed, it’s a necessary element in being a Duck. Many bigger schools liked what Pisarcik could do, but their recruitment classes were complete.

Pisarcik had always been a huge fan of Oregon. Narducci also reported that in Pisarcik’s early high school years, he dreamed of playing for the Ducks, “loving the high-octane offense and watching the Ducks as often as he could.”

As fate would have it, Chip Kelly caught wind of this underrated tight end and gave him his first and only D1 offer. Almost immediately, Pisarcik accepted. Once Oregon showed interest, Penn State and Rutgers stepped up to bat, but Pisarcik had made his decision.


Kevin Cline

Jake Pisarcik (76) gearing up for a play during the 2014 spring game.

After Pisarcik redshirted his freshman year and made the travel squad as an emergency backup at guard, Mark Helfrich decided to make a change. Over the course of spring practice, Pisarcik joined Doug Brenner and Hroniss Grasu to learn the center position. He remained behind after practice with Grasu and Brenner to get a better handle on the position. Though Brenner is looking like the No. 2 guy behind Grasu, Pisarcik has a real shot at serious playing time.

In an article with Joseph Santoliquito of Maxprep, Pisarcik stated: “Maybe I am the high school football Rocky. All I wanted was a chance and I’m getting it. I know the rest is up to me to prove it.” This coming season, Pisarcik will certainly get his shot. Once Grasu’s time is up, the Ducks are going to need guys such as Pisarcik and Brenner around to step up and take charge on the offensive line. This kid, who rose from Medford, New Jersey obscurity, is now getting his shot to play with one of the greatest teams in the college game. I think the “high school football Rocky” title is spot-on.

Top photo by Kevin Cline

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