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Thursday, October 25, 2012 - Page updated at 08:00 p.m.
Bellevue wields a Jack hammer
By Jayson Jenks
Seattle Times staff reporter
Bellevue linebacker and UCLA commit Myles Jack inspires the kind of talk reserved for only the most elite high-school players.
"He's the most dominant football player I've ever coached against," Juanita coach Shaun Tarantola said.
"It's a five-letter word," Eastside Catholic coach Jeremy Thielbahr said. "Freak."
"No offense to (Skyline quarterback) Max Browne, but Jack is the best 'football player' in the state," Interlake coach Jason Rimkus said.
Through eight games, the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Jack has 24 solo tackles and 8.5 sacks, including three against Liberty on Friday. Yet, partly because he rarely plays a full game, understanding Jack's dominance is less numbers than appearance.
In the season opener against Trinity from Euless, Texas, Jack sped around the edge in the final minutes and delivered such a punishing hit, Trinity's quarterback had to leave. His replacement threw an interception on his first play in overtime, giving Bellevue a 31-24 victory.
"He's dominated the game like nobody I've seen on defense in a long time," Bellevue coach Butch Goncharoff said. "Teams are checking to go to the other side and not run on him. Guys have tried everything on him.
"He's a one-man wrecking crew. And then we'll drop him in coverage. He's got the skills to cover a back coming out of the backfield and cover him well."
Bellevue has allowed only 35 points its last seven games. With D-I recruits Sean Constantine and Budda Baker and all-state players Darien Freeman and Michael Carlson, the Wolverines have scored 13 defensive touchdowns.
"But you only notice those other guys if you pay a lot of attention to them," Tarantola said. "The guy you notice every play is Myles Jack. And those other guys are great. You take Myles Jack off the field and you're like, 'This safety is amazing, this inside 'backer is amazing.'
"But this guy is so dominant, he stands out on the field. Even our players were like, 'Oh my God, No. 21.' "
Jack entered the season as a Rivals.com three-star recruit and rated the 26th-best linebacker in the country. The site ranked him as the third-best player in the state behind Browne and Constantine, a linebacker and UW commit.
Scout.com has Jack as a four-start recruit and the nation's 17th-ranked outside linebacker.
"He has easily been the most dominant defensive player in the state, and if he wanted it, he could have his choice of schools," Scout.com's Jake Worthen said.
Jack, who also holds offers from UW, Oregon, South Carolina and Mississippi State, spent much of his junior season at running back. He only played defense for about half the season after a growth spurt between his sophomore and junior years.
"Last year he was a good player, but he was growing into his body," Tarantola said. "Now he's all grown up. If this guy's not the best defensive player in the nation at his level, I want to know who is."
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