After receiving almost a dozen Division I football scholarship offers, Jacob Karam is going with a gut feeling.
The Friendswood senior quarterback gave an oral commitment to Texas Tech on Monday, becoming the third Galveston County senior to choose a Big 12 school for his college destination.
"There was a million things I loved about Tech," Karam said. "I went to a camp there, and they offered me on Saturday. It seemed like this was the right time and right place for me, so I committed on Monday. It's a gut feeling that this is the right decision."
Karam (6-2, 205) joins Clear Creek defensive back Marcus Davis (Texas) and Dickinson offensive lineman Ivory Wade (Texas A&M) as local players having already committed to a Big 12 school. Tech has yet to win a Big 12 championship, although they have become a program on the rise with head coach Mike Leach and his pass-happy offense.
"I was interested in (Tech) all along because I really liked the program and the offense," Karam said. "My dream would be to win a Big 12 championship with them."
Karam became the first sophomore to ever start at quarterback for Friendswood head coach Steve Van Meter in 2006. That decision certainly paid off, with the signal caller passing for 4,299 yards and 46 touchdowns in his first two seasons. The Mustangs have gone 14-7 in his starts.
Following the 2006 season, Karam was named District 23-4A newcomer of the year and honorable mention all-state. He's also been named first-team all-county each of the last two seasons.
"I've had a couple of good quarterbacks play for me," Van Meter said. "I hate comparing them, because I don't want to shortchange one. But he is definitely the heaviest recruited kid I've ever had."
Karam received 11 Division I offers. Other schools extending scholarships to him were Houston, Rice, Arizona, Colorado State, Iowa State, Missouri, South Florida, Utah and Vanderbilt.
"I think Tech is a good fit for him," Van Meter said. "The location, the Big 12, the offense - there is a lot to like for him. I'm sure it's not only exciting, but it's a big relief to get this decision out of the way."
Friendswood has had plenty of success sending players to Division I football programs in recent years. In 2007, linebacker Bo Mosley signed with Houston and defensive end Ryan Williams committed to Air Force. This past signing day, linebacker Will Ebner (Missouri), fullback Austin Beaty (Navy) and offensive linemen Cameron Kaufhold (Baylor) and Blake Sargent (Houston) all went Division I. Lineman Luke Landers (Brown) and receiver Matt McLaren (Texas A&M Commerce) also signed football scholarships in February.
"I think it's a testament to those kids," Van Meter said. "They knew what they wanted at an early age and were driven to accomplish those goals. We, as far as a program, are happy with them. I hope it keeps going. They come here with ability, and we provide the platform for them to be noticed."
Karam will join a Texas Tech team that will have an opening at quarterback, after Heisman candidate Graham Harrell completes his senior season this fall. The Red Raiders will have three other signal callers on the roster - rising junior Taylor Potts and a couple of rising sophomores.
"We didn't even talk about early playing time," Karam said. "But I am confident in my abilities and, hopefully, I'll earn a starting job early in my career."
Karam will join defensive back Jarrell Rout (Texas City) and defensive tackles Rajon Henley (Ball High) and Richard Jones (La Marque) as Galveston County players on the Tech roster. All three of those defenders will be seniors in 2009.
Karam said now that he's committed to Tech, he plans on doing a little recruiting of his own.
"There are a few guys that I would like to come to Lubbock with me," Karam said. "I'm going to start working on them right away."
Joshua Buckley, Sports Editor, The Galveston County Daily News