Glen Mason has made a living out of taking under-the-radar players in Minnesota and turning them into excellent college players.
He should have an easier time molding Northfield, Minn., defensive lineman Anthony Jacobs, because Jacobs is hardly a diamond in the rough.
His four-star ranking and place in the Rivals250 made Jacobs an easy selection to play in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl. The game will be played on Jan. 4 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and will be carried live on ESPNU.
Five facts about Anthony Jacobs
• His sports hero: Mike Alstott.
• His hobbies: Shopping and hanging out with his girlfriend.
• Favorite movie: Bad Boys II.
• What he wants to accomplish in life: To be somebody's hero.
• Plans to major in accounting.
"I got a big smile on my face when I got invited," Jacobs said. "I was excited because I was thinking about playing with all the best kids in the nation. Then to find out that I'm the only kid from Minnesota that has been invited, that made me feel really special."
Jacobs is special.
He can be a factor on both sides of the football in college. While he's a star power back for his high school team, he projects on the defensive side of the ball for the Golden Gophers, the school he committed to back in early March.
"Since I'm probably going to be on defense, I'll put my offensive strategies to work on defense," Jacobs said. "I can read offenses better than a lot of others guys. They're also going to see a big kid flying around and making plays. I'm really good at reading the quarterback and knowing where he's going to go with the football. That helps me get back there and make plays in the backfield."
Jacobs says he's solid on his choice of the Golden Gophers, and is excited about the future of Minnesota football.
"One of the main reasons I picked Minnesota was so that I can stay close to home," he said. "It doesn't get much closer than Minnesota. Then when I met the coaches, they were really nice to meet and down to earth.
"At first, they made fun of the way I run. They said I run like a girl. I'm pigeon-toed and bow legged. I take a lot of short and choppy steps, but I go fast. Coach Mason asked me 'How do you run with feet like that?' I then asked him 'How do you run up and down the field as old as you are?' It's that type of relationship that totally sold me on playing at Minnesota."