Recruit Spotlight: ATH Jake Vascocu, Ascension Episcopal High School, Class of 2018
by Jace LeJeune
Usually, a lot of high school players strive at one position and play at only one position, but that is not the case for the do-everything senior from Ascension Episcopal in Jake Vascocu. Vascocu is a jack of all trades. He started his prolific career with the Blue Gators in the secondary as a starting safety. In his sophomore year, he moved to the offensive side of the football at wide receiver as he was catching passes from another fellow Ascension Episcopal star quarterback, whose name is also Jake in Jake Arceneaux, who is currently playing quarterback for the ULL Ragin’ Cajuns, and was catching passes along with two of the program’s greatest receivers in Zack Ronquillo and Ronald Leblanc. With too many mouths to feed at receiver and the departure of Arceneaux at quarterback, it seemed logical for Coach Matthew Desormeaux and the rest of the coaching staff to put their most versatile player at quarterback. In his first year as a starting quarterback, he looked like he had been under center for four seasons. Last season, Vascocu threw for over 2,000 yards and 29 touchdowns while running for over 700 yards and 12 more touchdowns on the ground. He can do it all whether be throwing the football, running the football, or catching the football. It would not be surprising if he is the team water boy as well because that is how versatile he is. Football indeed runs into Vascocu’s blood as his father is another great Louisiana prep football player in Jerry Vascocu, who played linebacker at Cedar Creek and later on at Vanderbilt. Louisiana Football Magazine Editor/T.V. Host Lee Brecheen is so impressed with the Ascension Episcopal star player’s ability that he put him on the cover of our South Louisiana edition of Louisiana Football Magazine.
“The team will only go as far as Jake Vascocu will take them,” Brecheen said. “He is a player who can run a legit 4.5/40 and has a really good arm. He has a chance to be a great slot receiver at the next level as he reminds me of Trent Taylor (Evangel Christian/Louisiana Tech/San Francisco 49ers).
His dynamic playmaking ability and his ability to extend plays when rushed really made this offense very explosive. Vascocu’s ability to run the offense was a major key for the Blue Gators as they reached the Division IV state championship. However, their Cinderella run would end there as 1A powerhouse Southern Lab captured their second straight championship game. Even though the result was not what the team wanted, there is no question that there is very high optimism as the Blue Gators have established themselves as a contender. Ascension Episcopal does lose the deadly combination of Ronquillo and Leblanc on the outside at receiver and their move up to 2A will make their run to the Dome for two consecutive years a little bit more difficult, but with another year of the system, Vascocu could be much better in his second year as he will be more experienced. That is indeed a scary sight for opposing teams. In today’s recruit spotlight, we caught up with the Ascension Episcopal dual-threat quarterback as he talked about his high school career, thoughts on last year’s incredible team, his favorite position to play, this season, and so much more!
LAFM: What is your name, age, position, and school you played for?
Jake Vascocu, 17, QB, Ascension Episcopal
LAFM: What is your current height and weight?
LAFM: What is your ACT score and GPA?
ACT: 28; GPA: 3.87
LAFM: What are the schools that you have received offers from as of right now?
I have received some offers from some D-III schools so far.
LAFM: What is your max bench press, max squat, vertical, and 40 yard time?
Bench: 300; Squat: 365; 40: 4.65; Vertical: 31 inches
LAFM: What are your stats and accomplishments over your football career so far?
Last year, I threw just over 2,100 yards and 29 touchdowns. I also ran for 700 yards and 12 more touchdowns. My biggest offensive accomplishment would be making All-District Offensive MVP.
LAFM: Over your career, you have played many different positions. In your freshman year, you played safety and in your sophomore year, you played receiver. Last season, you played quarterback. How has playing wide receiver and safety helped you become a quarterback?
Playing those different positions just gave me better football awareness. When you are playing safety, you really think like a quarterback and the same goes for receiver. It just really helped shape my athleticism and my football skills.
LAFM: What are the biggest strengths to your game?
I think my quickness is one of my better assets along with my strength. A lot of guys out there can throw the football. I am not extremely special when it comes with that, but I think my speed, agility, and strength is what makes me better.
LAFM: You looked very experienced out there even though it was your first year as a starter. What are some things that you need to improve on from your first year as a starting quarterback to this season?
I think it is just consistency. Through the first nine games of the season, I threw only one interception. Then, over the next couple of games, I threw a couple of more. Being more consistent in the big games is going to be the big key for me as well as staying healthy. That is a major key for anybody that is playing at a small school.
LAFM: Jake Arceneaux, of course, was the player that first got the program really going and then there were guys like Zack Ronquillo and Ronald Leblanc that really helped you make the transition to quarterback. Have those guys given you any advice on handling being the main playmaker and leader on the offensive side of the football?
Everyone has. We knew when we were younger that we wanted to bring Ascension Episcopal football to the next step and it has definitely been a growing process ever since I was an eighth grader. I felt some of the leadership responsibilities early and really put that on my shoulders even when I was younger.
LAFM: In speaking of those receivers, both of them are now gone. Now, the receiving core looks really young, but who are some targets that have impressed you the most and are guys that we will get to know as the season goes on?
There is not many guys that haven’t played before. We got two wide receivers/defensive backs that will be replacing Zack and Ronald right now. They are Mac Kelly and Andrew Hebert. Those are two guys that have looked good all summer. We also got some younger guys that will get reps as well.
LAFM: Last season was a magical year for the Blue Gators as you helped lead the team all the way to the state championship. How does the success of last year help bring confidence to this year’s team with the move up from 1A to 2A?
We all know that good football is good football and we played that last season so none of the guys are worried about the move up in competition. We are just more worried about ourselves and staying tough throughout the season.
LAFM: What team are you most excited to play against and why?
Right now, the game that we look forward to would be the Catholic High (New Iberia) game. There has been a lot of debacle about the game, but honestly, I am the most excited about the Erath game just because it is Week One and it is a big Week One game. However, we just need to take every game one at a time.
LAFM: What was the best game of your prep career so far and why?
We played St. Frederick in the quarterfinals of last season and I had a really good night throwing the football. My receivers did help me by making some great plays. I also was very limited running the football because I had a high ankle sprain. Also, both Central Catholic games last season were great. They were not my best statistical games but I felt that I performed pretty strongly in both games.
LAFM: You are a very entertaining football player to watch. Is there a player that you model your game after? If so, who is it and why that particular player?
I watch a lot of football and I try to model my play after some guys, but if I had to choose one person, it probably would be Russell Wilson (N.C. State/Wisconsin/Seattle Seahawks) because I try to stay smart on the field. It might not be too flashy but I like the way that he handles himself.
LAFM: You have played basically wherever your team needed to play, but if it was up to you, what would be the position that you would want to play?
I would choose quarterback because I love that my teammates and coaches have all the faith in me. I love a little bit of pressure, but I also love the responsibility that the position comes with it. Overall, I just love being in the middle of everything with the guys.
LAFM: What are your goals for this season?
I have never really set any individual goals for myself. A lot of my goals are team oriented. We want to be undefeated at home, secondly, win a district championship, and lastly, win a state championship, but the most important thing with moving up to 2A and with a completely new schedule is setting the tone. We don’t have any established rivals yet, but I think that we need to go out, keep throwing punches, and show everybody what we are about.
LAFM: What is your message to the Ascension Episcopal team and fans this year?
It’s going to be about how we handle ourselves on the first snap of every game and how we prepare for every week. It is going to be exciting and it is going to be a fun year. For the seniors, it is our last year so we are going to make the most of it.
LAFM: Your dad was also a star football player in his own right as he played for Cedar Creek and Vanderbilt as a linebacker. Even though both of you are two different players, what is some advice that he has given you about approaching the game of football and if you have ever seen any film of your dad playing, is there any similarities between his game and yours even though both of you played two different positions?
I watched a highlight video of my dad about five years ago when I was younger. Just the way we trout around and the way we toss the ball to the ref when we get tackled is all very similar and I love that. He just gives me advice on my overall game. It is not crazy advice and it is just the right advice that I need, but I talked to him. He says that he is proud of me and that he is just enjoying the ride.
LAFM: You are on the cover of our South Louisiana edition of our magazine. What does it mean for you to be recognized as one of the best players in the state?
I really appreciate it. I cherish it and haven’t looked past it. My family, my teammates, everybody at school, and my classmates are really proud of me so it was a great opportunity to go and be on the cover. I am very thankful for it.
LAFM: A lot of people know you as a great football player, but what is an interesting fact about yourself that our readers do not know about you?
For one thing, I have really strong faith and that is the most important thing to me, but I tell you what that I like to fish!
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