At 6-foot-5, 255 pounds, LSU transfer Nic Jacobs gives McNeese State a large target in the passing game at the tight end position. The Cowboys will also use Jacobs in double-tight end formations. (Rick Hickman / American Press)
Last Modified: Thursday, August 15, 2013 10:15 AM
Sophomore safety Brent Spikes may have the most unenviable task of any McNeese State player this August, walk-ons included.
Among the items in his job description is attempting to take down behemoth tight end Nic Jacobs, who checks in at 6-foot-5 and 255 pounds with the speed of somebody a whole lot lighter.
“It’s a challenge every day,” Spikes said. “I like going against him. He makes me better every day. So it’s all good to me.”
Jacobs’s sheer size provides the Cowboys with the kind of a weapon that is rarely seen in the Southland Conference. Even without playing a down in the league, Southland coaches voted him preseason all-conference.
“He’s certainly a big, physical kid and can run, which is hard to come by,” said head coach Matt Viator. “I’m hoping he can be a big factor.”
The junior transferred to McNeese from LSU at the start of the spring semester.
He is finding that there are elements of playing at the Football Championship Subdivision level that don’t exactly match the niceties of the Southeastern Conference.
“You can’t go indoors (to practice) anymore,” Jacobs noted after another sweltering practice this week.
But Jacobs is excited about being a Cowboy because it means he’ll be playing a more active part in the offense. He was used mostly as a run blocker at LSU, and caught only five passes in two years.
“I feel more unleashed now — less constricted than I did at LSU,” Jacobs said. “No offense to them, but they didn’t want to get the ball to the tight end.”
LSU’s three tight ends combined for 16 of the team’s 208 receptions last year. McNeese’s three tight ends caught 25 of the team’s 180 receptions.
Jacobs isn’t the only tight end who will benefit from an expanded role in the offense.
Sophomore Kendale Thomas, who had two touchdowns and seven catches last year, figures to get more chances if defenses are focused on shutting down Jacobs in double-tight end formations.
Thomas knows he’ll have to make the most of those opportunities.
“I figure everybody in the game will favor him and leave me open,” Thomas said. “We’ve got other weapons on the field. They’ll either double Nic or double Diontae Spencer and leave someone open.
“We’re running a lot of two-tight end sets now. Somebody’s going to be open. So I think (Jacobs’ presence) really contributes to the team. I’m not complaining.”
Jacobs admits he has to improve as a route runner, but said his work with position coach Broderick Fobbs is accomplishing that task.
“Coach Fobbs used to be a receivers coach, so I’m really getting better at my routes more than anything,” Jacobs said.
Thomas said he thinks Jacobs is already good in that regard.
“Any route over the middle, or shallow, or post, that’s money,” Thomas said. “That’s a big target. You can’t overthrow him. You can’t underthrow him. He’s gonna go get it.”