Boston College added another defensive back to their impressive group with Jalen Cheek from Winslow Township in New Jersey. A 6'1 cornerback, Cheek will be joining a group on campus that includes Brandon Sebastian, Josh DeBerry, Elijah Jones, and many others. He was considered the #12 recruit in the State of New Jersey, and was a member of the SI All American Top 1000.
Other offers: West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Baylor, Maryland, Penn State
Frame: Slender. Well-proportioned with wide shoulders, long arms and low waist. Tightly-wound thighs and trunk taper to sinewy calves. Plenty of room for additional muscle, but won’t need much more.
Athleticism: Good feet. Mirrors with ease and fires out of backpedal. Solid speed and hip flexibility; little wasted motion while turning, sprinting with receivers. Functional play strength. Outstanding ball skills in coverage.
Instincts: Tracks ball well in air; deflects passes most defensive backs can’t. Rare ability to recover last-minute, getting hand in receiver’s basket. Excitable and effective in run support. Plays with natural base in backfield and box.
Polish: Solid backpedal. Effective jamming receivers at LOS; very physical. Extremely comfortable in man coverage, but understanding of zone concepts largely unknown. Chops feet and lowers base when arriving to tackle.
Bottom Line: Cheek’s combination of length and anticipatory ball skills make him an intriguing cornerback prospect. Assuming his quickness and speed on film is verifiable, he might be among the most underrated defensive backs in 2021. Projects as multi-year starter for Boston College, with higher upside.