Temple's Jarrett To Join Line Of MAC Stars In The NFL

Safety and draft prospect Jaiquawn Jarrett was coached by former Packers linebacker Mark D'Onofrio at Temple.

In what's generally considered a weak class of safeties for this year's Draft, Jaiquawn Jarrett stands out as one of the better ones.

The Temple product attributes a lot of his success to former head coach Al Golden and defensive coordinator, former Green Bay Packers linebacker Mark D'Onofrio.

"Coach Golden had a huge impact on my career," Jarrett told Cheesehead TV at the NFL Combine. "Him and Coach D'Ononfrio and (defensive backs) Coach Paul Williams. Because of them, I'm the person and the player that I am today."

Thanks to Golden's success, he was hired as the head coach at the University of Miami and brought those assistants along with him, a testament to the players they've developed at Temple on defense.

Along with Jarrett, the Owls also produced defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson who could go as high as the first round of April's Draft. And they also boast inside linebacker Elijah Joseph who projects as an undrafted free agent if not a late-round draft choice.

Together, they're proving that just because they're from the MAC Conference, they shouldn't be overlooked.

"The MAC Conference might seem like a small conference but we produce some of the best players," said Jarrett.

The Packers know that very well. Last season they had three players from Central Michigan alone on their roster in defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins, outside linebacker Frank Zombo and cornerback Josh Gordy.

Of course, Pro Bowl wide receiver Greg Jennings of Western Michigan was an integral part in the team's success. They also had rookie running back James Starks of Buffalo who played such a large role in their run through the playoffs last season.

And the Packers had offensive lineman T.J. Lang of Eastern Michigan, tight end Tom Crabtree of Miami, Ohio and linebacker Diyral Briggs of Bowling Green to boot.

If there's any team that knows of the talent in the MAC Conference, it's the Packers.

"I think coming from the MAC, you've always got to bring your pride," said Jarrett. "Just coming from any conference, any player is going to bring their best on any given day."

The Packers might know better, but apparently there's a contingent of NFL decision makers that question the level of competition in the MAC and have asked Jarrett about it in the interview process that takes part prior to the Draft.

"Being in the meetings with the scouts and the GMs, they're concerned about the talent level that is in the MAC, " said Jarrett, "my competition, who I played against and can I able to showcase my talent competing against some of the big-time players in the big-time conferences.

"And I think that I can do that, because I went to the Senior Bowl, and I was able to compete. And not only did I compete, but I think I stood out in some of the drills."

In addition to the Senior Bowl, all Jarrett has to do is point to Temple's non-conference schedule in which they played against several BCS conference teams, and played them very competitively.

"I think when we played against UConn and Penn State, I think when we played against bigger competition, everyone's game rises compared to who they're playing against," said Jarrett.

In 2010 the Owls beat Connecticut who would go on to win a share of the Big East title and play in the Fiesta Bowl. They lost to Penn State but played a competitive game.

Jarrett, at 6-0 and 198 pounds, says the strength of his game is being able to tackle in space and supporting the run. Although there are still aspects he needs to work on.

"I think I just need to keep on improving my weaknesses," said Jarrett, "just work on my man coverage skills, keep working on staying focused, backpedaling, transitioning better and working on being more fluid in my hips."

If he does that, he should find himself being the next in line to make the jump from the MAC to the NFL.

0 points

Log in to comment and more!

Not a member yet? Join free.

If you have already commented on Cheesehead TV in the past, we've created an account for you. Just verify your email, set a password and you're golden.